By now, everyone and their grandmothers are familiar with the need to protect data from viruses and malicious code.
That’s not to say everyone actually takes steps to mitigate the risk of viruses—many people have a mile-long list of rationalizations for not investing in anti-virus software:
- I only open attachments from familiar senders
- I only visit “safe” websites
- I never click on suspicious-looking ads
You don't have to be a security expert to recognize the problems with these statements, but Linux, AIX, and IBM i users have bought into some equally dangerous myths.
Breaking Down the Virus Myths
Many IT professionals using the Linux, AIX, and IBM i operating systems still believe their systems are immune to viruses because viruses are a Windows threat. That may have been true at one time, but it’s not the case in today’s connected environments.
Others insist that their firewall protects their systems from viruses. In reality, no single solution on any platform gives you complete protection, including firewalls.
The biggest excuse people make for forgoing virus protection is that they scan their client PCs and therefore no virus would make it to the server. But, malware often tries to disable anti-virus protection. Plus, if the virus signature files are not updated for any reason, there is the possibility the virus could get past the anti-virus protection.
Just like any other area of cybersecurity, effective malware defense requires multiple layers. This brings us to the importance of native virus scanning. Security experts recommend anti-virus software that runs natively on your system for four main reasons:
1. PC-Based Virus Scanning Creates Security Concerns
Even attempting to scan your Linux, AIX, or IBM i server from a PC creates additional security vulnerabilities. The process requires leaving a work station to be logged on throughout the scanning process, which compromises the security and integrity of the server. Confidential data is visible on the network because scanning the server from a PC requires that all files are transferred between the two without encryption. The PC must be physically secured because anyone with access to the keyboard has access to anything on the server.
This also means the server is visible to a virus or malicious code. If the PC becomes infected with viruses, they could be spread throughout the system.
Native virus scanning doesn’t require a work station or a file share.
2. PC Scanning Isn't Very Reliable
Some parts of the Linux, AIX, and IBM i servers are impossible for a PC-based anti-virus solution to scan, so that’s simply not a complete solution. If the operating system uses file structures not found on Windows, that can cause non-native scans to fail and trigger pop-up alerts about the failure. This makes the PC scanning process very manual, requiring almost constant monitoring by a human physically present at the PC to click “okay.”
Powertech Antivirus is one example of this. Because it’s built for Linux, AIX, and IBM i the process is fully automated, no additional hardware is required, and all files can be scanned easily. The native anti-virus solution will remove all detected threats.
3. Native Anti-Virus Scanning Eliminates Stability Problems
There are a number of problems with PC-based scanning solutions that cause the scanning process to stop entirely, such as a lost connection to the server, a pop-up warning message, lost power, etc.
The stability concerns simply aren’t an issue when you use software that’s running natively on your system.
4. Virus Scanning from a PC Creates Performance Problems
PC-based scanning is incredibly slow. Transferring all that unencrypted data from your server over the network to a PC, scanning the data, and transferring it back increases the network load dramatically.
A native scanning program knows how to treat Linux, AIX, and IBM i files and a native program also doesn’t increase your network load, doesn’t reset a file’s “last access time,” allows for more frequent scanning, and it’s very fast.
Scanning can also be performed on demand and initiated via a scheduler.
Most security regulations also require virus protection, which is just another incentive to utilize an effective virus scanning solution.
To see what a native anti-virus program could do for your organization, sign up for a free trial of Powertech Antivirus.