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Chapter 16. Conclusion

" I do not like to collect my own paintings. I know what is missing from each of them!"

Endre Szasz

Our journey in computer virus research is coming to an end. Unfortunately, a number of topics could not be discussed in detail because of space limitations. Writing this book was a major task, and the process was exhausting. During 2004, computer worm attacks increased dramatically, pressuring Symantec Security Response and computer virus researchers around the world. At the same time, I have spent all my weekends during the last 12 months working on this book, and it was my fascination with the topic that kept me going. Indeed, there are no vacations in security, but I definitely need one!

When I finished the first 10 chapters, I realized how much more I could say about attacks, but discussing attacks any further would have left no space for defense methods. The number of attacks is overwhelming, as I believe the balance of attack and defense coverage of this book demonstrates.

I hope that you have found this book valuable and interesting. I also hope that you will continue to show interest in computer viruses and join the fight against them. Perhaps you will roll out your own antivirus software one day. Really, it is up to you nowyou know the state of the art in computer virus and defense techniques. Just as you cannot become an artist just by going to a museum, you cannot become a master of computer virus defense by reading even a dozen books on the subject. What you need is to practice the art.

In this book, I attempted to offer useful information according to my best knowledge. Many books dealing with the subject of malicious code or computer viruses discuss important computer virus techniques only in appendices, often with a large number of technical errors. So-called "well-known facts" about computer viruses and security are often based on anecdotes unrelated to technical realities. So if you are familiar with some of these "facts," you will find some contradicting information in several chapters of this book. I believe that security research must evolve in exactly the same way as any other science. In science, it is typical to question a "known fact." In doing exactly that, I found fairly important details that have led to new realizations, ultimately contributing to the evolution of the art. I encourage you to do the same!

I appreciate your attention and the time that you have spent reading this book. I hope that you will be able to help less experienced people deal with computer viruses and security issues in the future.

The rest of this chapter offers references to useful Web sites, discussions, and information related to computer viruses and security. I wish you good luck with your fight against computer viruses, and I hope to meet you at one of the conferences or on the Net!

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