Craig Elliott, CEO Pertino, a cloud-networking startup, knowing that the use of antivirus software companies do not bother at all hacking attacks. That does not stop him from using it. "Safety blanket," he said. "CYA [cover your ass] more than anything else." That's why the antivirus industry, born in the late 1980s to fight the virus floppy-disk, durability, even in the era of sophisticated hacking from China and elsewhere.Although word virus is generally valid for all forms of computer attacks, data security pros are not only worried about the old-style virus program or piece of code that replicates and spreads from computer to computer, reducing their performance. The new threat: a sophisticated form of malicious software, or malware, such as online banking password stealers and military-grade spy software. Incidents such as the recent attack on the New York Times by Chinese hackers, who failed to stop the antivirus software, describing the challenges faced by industry leaders such as Symantec and McAfee. The disadvantage of the antivirus software that is designed to zero in on the so-called signatures, or patterns that can be identified in the code. When an antivirus company found a piece of malicious software, it adds a signature database, along with software upgrades delivered to the user. This approach applies to a more sophisticated malware arriving on the scene in the early 2000s. Now identify a piece of software attacks after the fact has limited value because the most advanced malware is custom-built for specific attacks and never used again. Now hackers prefer to infiltrate the network through e-mail and social media, which makes it difficult to see the attack. Times attack is thought to have begun in infected e-mail sent to employees. After the failed Times revealed that the Symantec software to determine the malware used in the offense, Mountain View (California) based company issued a statement saying that the antivirus protection alone is not enough to prevent sophisticated attacks. Symantec (SYMC) and Santa Clara (California)-based McAfee upgrade their security software to keep up with the hackers, such as adding a feature to block traffic crunch the data to determine whether an e-mail note or a Web site can be trusted. "The industry is likely to change quite dramatically," said Francis DeSouza, president of Symantec products and services. "We are seeing more malware than we have ever seen before, and we see more custom malware than we have ever seen before. Those trends have major implications for the antivirus industry. "Michael killer, chief technology officer for McAfee, which is owned by Intel (INTC), said that" the product is not a silver bullet. "Nevertheless, the company is not likely to throw their antivirus software. Even if they wanted to because of concerns about the cost or performance, many can not, said Amrit Williams, chief technology officer of Lancope, a company that sells software that scans network computers for malware. Retailers who accept credit cards, for example, must comply with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standard antivirus protection orders. Chief executive of the security industry that does not require antivirus software can choose to buy them or risk their jobs if they go without it and get attacked, said Williams. Consumer and corporate purchasing software to combat the threat of online account for $ 8 billion to $ 66 billion in worldwide computer security technology spending this year, according to Gartner (IT). Another reason for the need for enterprise antivirus products are likely to remain high is that there is still the threat of more sophisticated attacks, said Steven Ashley, an analyst at financial services firm Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee. The New York Times still Symantec customers, although "exploring other options," said spokeswoman Eileen Murphy. "Antivirus is an important element that will always be there," said Ashley. "Even a man walked into the office or facility is maintained, you will take a fence around it." At least one company, though, has done just that. Palo Alto Networks (PANW), maker of network security equipment, there is no official policy on antivirus software, said founder Nir Zuk. 840 employees are not required antivirus software on their machines, and the company uses its own network security products to defend against attacks. Most infections occur in the first 48 hours after a new piece of malware that was released before the antivirus companies can improve the customer, Zuk said, citing research conducted by the company. "I think there is value in the AV CTO least get rid of it," he said. "It's just that I think its worth, and the fact it only works on some machines, and the fact that finding a targeted attack or new, it makes me want to invest my money in a different solution" Bottom line:. Companies spend billions on antivirus software although it may be less effective in stopping the hacking attack.