PORTLAND, Ore.—As cyber security threats diversify, the most advanced solutions are upending the detection paradigm—from removing malicious software to installing only trusted software in the first place. Once considered too cumbersome for everyday use by IT departments, trust-based security—called application control—is now ready for mainstream IT departments, cloud deployments and virtualized environments, according to security software provider Bit9 Inc.
"Our customers believe that traditional defenses like blacklisting and scanning for malware are insufficient," said Brian Hazzard, vice president of product management at Bit9 (Waltham, Mass.). "The solution is to take trust-based security mainstream, which we hope to do by reducing administrative overhead, optimizing for virtualization, and making it scalable—from as few as 100 users to as many as 250,000 users on a single Bit9 server."
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Instead of paying a service to scan incoming files for malware, customers use Bit9 to assess whether programs are trustworthy—the opposite of traditional cyber security solutions based on blacklisting known-malicious software, then scanning incoming files for matching signatures.
Traditional virus scanners fail to spot new threats and require constant updates to keep pace, and as a consequence allow malware to steal data, record audio, track keystrokes, take screenshots, and monitor network traffic until they are detected. Trust-based cyber security systems, on the other hand, turn detection on-its-head by whitelisting trustworthy software and maintaining strict application control—only allowing trusted programs to execute.
Bit9's software dashboard. The database of known good apps can be access with Bit9's Parity Knowledge Service, which evaluates whether software is trustworthy.
Bit9, which has about 1,000 corporate customers maintaining application control over about one million user devices, claims version 7.0 of its trust-based security suite is the first to integrate application control across enterprise servers, desktop computers and laptops whether they are in-house, cloud-based or virtualized. Bit9 security software handles incident response, forensics, detection and protection either in-house or as a service.