Are older viruses removed from virus definition files?

346360 pts.
Tags:
Antivirus software
Virus Definitions
Viruses
I already know that anti-virus software receives updates from virus definition files (which contains patterns used to identify viruses). But with the size of updates growing frequently each time, I'm wondering in order to limit the size of the updates, do AV companies remove older viruses from their database?

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  • TomLiotta

    ...do AV companies remove older viruses from their database?

    Yes and no.

    For example, a virus that is specific to Windows 95 or 98 is unlikely to be needed in many cases. The recent releases of common AV products no longer can be installed in those environments, so there's less point in keeping those signatures around in currently distributed definitions.

    But network bandwidths and PC storage capabilities and processing speeds are also increasing, as is the efficiency of various algorithms for detecting patterns. The definitions databases can be much larger now while being less disruptive. The need to prune old, probably obsolete signatures is decreasing.

    It's a balance decided by each developer of signature databases.

    Tom

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  • Kevin Beaver
    I agree with Tom. I seriously doubt they're "removed". Certain anti-malware vendors are now storing their signatures in the cloud to get around this.
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