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11/4/2010
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'Inoculator' Detects Stealthy Malware Without Agents

HBGary commercializes technology used in the wake of Aurora attacks

Security firm HBGary is beta-testing a new appliance that forgoes client agent software as a way to more rapidly respond to targeted and other types of attacks against Windows machines.

The new Inoculator tool uses the Microsoft Windows WMI application programming interface rather than client software, and that interface is the conduit for the malware detection, removal, and prevention.

The appliance is in part based on the technology used in a free tool HBGary offered in the wake of Aurora. That software scanned for and removed Aurora malware from Windows machines. "We took that technology, put an enterprise console together, put it into an appliance, and enabled it to have policies that you can set," says Greg Hoglund, CEO and founder of HBGary. The appliance is accessible via a Web browser, he says.

Hoglund says his firm chose the agentless approach because it eliminates the issues involved with updating anti-malware client software and signatures, a process that can take too much time, especially when an attack is in progress. "If you're dealing with a malware infection now, the agent-based approach requires a lot of pain to get around that," he says.

With a zero-day attack, for instance, it would take only about five minutes to define the policy and remove, block, or audit a machine for reinfection, he says. "This puts the power of DAT files into the hands of the user" instead of the anti-malware vendor, he says, so it's much faster and more customizable.

Hoglund says the tool doesn't require the painful process of reimaging an infected machine to clean it up, either. He says more than half of all machines that get reimaged get reinfected.

The appliance scans policies to detect malware activity, and it interfaces with Active Directory. Once it removes the malware, it can be set to block the machine from getting reinfected by the malcode. HBGary will ship the Inoculator late this quarter.

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Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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