Pattern, Matching and IT Folklore

René Pfeiffer/ April 15, 2012/ Discussion, High Entropy, Security

Every once in a while there is a lively discussion about the efficiency of pattern-based security measures. Usually you see these discussions in the wake of security software tests. Mostly it concerns intrusion detection, malware filter or spam filter tools. As soon as you are trying to implement filters or detection, you will need some criteria to base decisions on. It doesn’t matter if you apply whitelisting, blacklisting or a mixture of both. Even if you add some intricate algorithms ranging from good ideas to artificial intelligence you still need to base the decision on something. Patterns and signatures is still the way to go. So why do these discussion about „all methods using patterns/signatures are snake oil“ stem from? Let’s take another pattern-based defence mechanism as an example – our immune systems. It

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