Rootkit software, like spyware, will eventually attract the attention of the larger vendors as it becomes a larger and larger problem, Hypponen said. "There will always be new kinds of attacks, and there will always be small vendors filling a niche for the new kind of problem before the big boys move in," he said. "McAfee and Symantec haven't made their move yet. They will."
Without going into specifics, both McAfee and Symantec said they will have new techniques to deal with rootkits in upcoming versions of their products, but Telafici noted that security enhancements in the upcoming Windows Vista operating system, due in late 2006, will also change things.
In particular, the Windows Vista model of giving users more restricted privileges on the PC may represent a major change in the fight against malicious software. Interestingly, Telafici was unable to predict whether Vista would give an advantage to the attackers or the security companies. "It may depend on how well (Vista) is implemented," he said.