EFF Issues Challenge to Major Anti-Virus Manufacturers

It hasn’t been all bad since the leaks, you know.

While the US and United Kingdom government scramble to cover their tracks and figure out a new plan of attack or way ahead, companies like BitTorrent are raking new users in by the dozen with their Sync service. Lavabit is surging in popularity ever since the G-men gave Ladar Levinson and his relatively modest 400,000 customers the spotlight and a chance to show off their dedication to privacy in this post-NSA-revelation world.

Now the EFF along with 23 other digital rights activists and privacy gurus are taking to the stage to announce their plans to put a stop to cooperation or coordination that might have gone down while these programs were still a secret. In a letter addressed to top-tier anti-virus companies, the coalition requested that each firm sign a contract and publicly submit their name to a statement agreeing they did not cooperate with local or foreign governments to aid or abet them in any way in the 12 years that have passed since 9/11.

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However, there is still a very real and apparent concern that these tactics, while admirable, in the end could likely be for naught. Even without the NSA leaks, it’s long been understood that common AV programs that aren’t backed up by a customized, fully staffed and salaried internet security team are reprehensibly weak when compared to the malware they’re up against. In the end it all comes down to the economics of the trade: people make significantly more money for breaking holes in wall than they do for patching them up.

The sort of talent required to make a good pentester can sprout up from anywhere, which means that overwhelmingly the people who dedicate the time and energy to get good also happen to live in impoverished conditions and can’t afford to accept $5,000 for another offer multitudes greater.

“There are already well-established techniques for making malware that AV software doesn’t currently detect. Commercial malware writers have been honing this craft for years and it seems ridiculous to suggest that a well-funded intelligence agency would be any less capable,” Wismer concludes.

Luckily for us, there are many available methods of protecting your security and identity online that don’t involve popular anti-virus products. Virtual private networks are a perfect way to ghost you and your traffic while surfing the web, ensuring that no one will have a chance to pick up your scent before it’s already lost in the wind. Connecting to public Wi-Fi is a malware nightmare, and finding the right mobile solution for your private networking needs isn’t always easy, but with Express VPN you’re covered on every iPhone, iPad, and Android device in your home.