"The bad guys are always trying to be a step ahead," Matthew D. Howard, a venture capitalist at Norwest Venture Partners, told The New York Times.
"And it doesn't take a lot to be a step ahead," said Howard, who previously created the security strategy at Cisco Systems.
Despite billions of dollars being spent every year on anti-virus software by consumers and businesses, freshly created viruses are always popping up the software cannot deal with.
The problem has exploded with the discovery by organized criminal gangs of the profit potential of malware and viruses, experts say.
By the time anti-virus products are updated to block new viruses it is often too late, experts said, with the criminals having successfully stolen data or emptied a consumer's bank accounts.
By 2010, there were 49 million new strains of viruses attacking computers worldwide, AV-Test, a German research institute, reported.
Researchers testing more than 40 anti-virus products from major vendors against 82 new computer viruses said they found the initial detection rate was less than 5 percent.
"Existing methodologies we've been protecting ourselves with have lost their efficacy," Ted Schlein, a security-focused investment partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, told the Times.