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This question quite amazes me. I dont understand how antivirus companies get info about the latest viruses. have they installed some kind of filters to monitor the internet traffic ? Or they are purely dependent on sites like www.virustotal.com and similar ? If thats the case, then why some companies create a patch first, and other companies dont even know about that virus ?

Please clarify.

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Various methods can be used:

  • Samples are sent in by customers
  • Malware detected by heuristic scanners (i.e. stuff that behaves like a virus) is further analysed
  • Mail blocked as spam can be analysed for malware attachments.
  • "honeypots", which are public servers or email addresses designed to collect malware
  • going undercover in malware writers communities
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Now I'm imagining new guys approaching malware communities having to so some "being evil" test before being accepted... –  Lohoris Mar 16 at 9:16
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