Security Market Segment LS
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 17:08

Kaspersky granted US patent for antivirus hardware

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Security vendor Kaspersky Lab has been granted a US patent for an antivirus device that prevents malware from being written to a disk.

One of the problems with a software approach to malware protection is that privilege escalation exploits can allow malicious code to work around or even disable the software.

Kaspersky has proposed a device that is installed between the hard drive and the rest of the system, blocking malicious activity according to an internal antivirus database.

It could be implemented as a physically separate device or as an integrated part of the disk controller.

The company claims this approach is particularly effective against rootkits.

Inventor Oleg Zaitsev, Kaspersky Lab's technology expert, said "a hardware-based antivirus solution has a distinct advantage over conventional AV solutions because it monitors all attempts to access a memory device while remaining inaccessible to malware. This is critical for fighting such sophisticated threats as rootkits and bootkits."

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"Moreover, the hardware antivirus solution integrates seamlessly with other security solutions, as well as with server software and specialised computers, for example ATMs," he added.

The patent includes an arrangement to ensure the secure update of the device's AV database. A two-step process uses a cryptographic key to control communication between the device and the updater running on the PC, and then the update is verified using methods such as signature comparison and checksumming.

Kaspersky's US patent application was filed on September 19, 2009 and granted on February 2, 2010.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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