Q

Best practices for patching AV software

The importance of software patching often gets overlooked in favor of operating system patching. Site expert Jason Chan offers suggestions on the best methods for patching antivirus and other software.

Do you have any "best practices" for patching holes in AV software? Are there any automated patch management tools available for this? Just out of curiosity, what is the best AV software (in other words, the one that has needed the least amount of patching)?
First, it's good that you are thinking about patching all of your software (many people get caught up with only addressing operating system patches). Things like browser plugins, office applications and others are often overlooked or at least made less of a priority.

For antivirus software updating, I would first check with your vendor (or related documentation) to see if there are any automatic update options. Some vendors will use such technology to simplify the process and ensure that critical updates (to the software, not just the signature files) are implemented as quickly as possible. If automatic updating won't work for you, you'll likely have to rely on one of two solutions -- a general...

systems or patch management solution that will allow for the updating of arbitrary software, or a 'home grown' solution that may consist of some scripting (login or otherwise) or other more manual options.

Regarding the best software in terms of needed maintenance, I am not certain if any relevant studies have been made of the various antivirus offerings. I would suggest checking in antivirus forums for more information on this topic.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here are some related links to antivirus patching topics:

  • Tip: Patching your antivirus software
  • Expert Advice: Researching antivirus products
  • Tip: How to choose an effective antivirus solution
  • Learning Guide: Get up to speed on virus detection and protection in our Malware Learning Guide
  • This was first published in September 2005

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