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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Changes in Approaches To Consumer IT Protection

08 May, 2012
Kaspersky Lab explains how OS patching and Updating antivirus signatures is no longer enough
IT security professionals need no reminders about how corporate IT protection is a constant circular race with the opponents constantly switching positions as new malware is developed and protections against it devised.



In the world of consumer IT though, that awareness is relatively low and most users are in the happy position of not seeing the effects of the constant barrage of attacks. Usually, this is because they haven't been hit by it yet but it could happen at any time with phishing attacks using social networking and other techniques aiming for people's banking details.



Everyone is told, quite rightly, to install anti-virus software, use a firewall, keep the software updated and install operating system patches as soon as they're released. Along with exercising common sense and restraint when opening e-mail attachments and clicking on hyperlinks, that has usually been enough up to now but things are changing according to Kaspersky Lab.



At this year's InfoSecurity Europe exhibition in London, we met with Peter Beardmore and Rainer Bock of Kaspersky Lab to discuss the future of consumer virus protection.



Kaspersky's client base spreads across corporate deployments, OEM installations as part of Unified Threat Management appliances and consumer protection with the latter making up the vast majority of the company's customers. Kaspersky aims to provide a constantly evolving protection mechanism for its consumers and this involves usability enhancements as well as making significant inroads regarding time to value by identifying threats more quickly and providing mitigation solutions before the user becomes a victim.



Vulnerability identification and mitigation depends on the Kaspersky cloud environment which takes advantage of the "always connected" environment that consumers are experiencing and uses the cloud based threat intelligence database to provide updates in as little time as 40 seconds from the identification of a threat making zero-day threat mitigation a transparent reality. This also addresses the quality of the threat intelligence; by using a community database, the software no longer relies on black, grey or white lists.



Kaspersky is also addressing the fact that OS patching is not enough with malware writers targeting applications such as Java and Adobe applications, browsers and of course Microsoft's own suite of non-OS products. By understanding the privileges of these applications, Kaspersky Lab can better detect errant application behaviour. The first manifestation of this was the thankful removal of those horrible messages that accompanied some anti-virus programmes where the user was asked to make a decision on running an application without having enough information to make that decision.



However, now Kaspersky Lab can also manage the patching of applications, making such patch updates as automatic, easy and reliable as operating system updates.



All this is a far cry from the established concept of downloading signature patches when reminded to do so and managing OS and application updates with little knowledge of why and how to do it. Such progress is significant not only for the consumer market but also in the corporate world as the consumerisation of the workplace is becoming more apparent every day.
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