What’s the best way to fight a computer virus? With an anti-virus program, of course. But an even better way to battle viruses would be to keep them off your computer. But here’s something even better: An Israeli company has developed a system that actually kills viruses before they are even born!
Call it “virus abortion” – certainly a type of “abortion” everyone can agree on. But that, in essence, is what Nyotron’s Paranoid technology is capable of: Detecting the first stirrings of virus activity in your operating system’s kernel, and extinguishing the offending code before it has an opportunity to inflict any damage at all!
It’s a far better way to fight viruses than the alternatives – the major anti-virus applications from Norton and the like, says Nyotron CEO Nir Gaist. “By definition, other programs are always behind the 8-ball,” he says. “They are only reacting to viruses that have already been released into the wild.” Those viruses – which mostly affect Windows machines – usually take advantage of some security hole in the OS registry, or attach themselves to a computer via an unnoticed download. “The anti-virus program makers are constantly on the lookout for viruses and are constantly updating and patching their products,” says Gaist. “But they can only react – unlike Paranoid, which can prevent viruses from even hatching.”
When a virus or worm (which, technically, is really just an application) tries to undertake an action affecting the operating system, Paranoid examines its “modus operandi” and compares it to the methods that viruses use to create havoc on computers. The intelligent technology utilized by Paranoid is able to differentiate between legitimate and suspicious activity in the OS – and is able to stop the activity if the latter situation prevails.
Thus, when a virus tries to undertake a suspicious action, like attempting to hijack processes they aren’t associated with, downloading code from websites, installing itself as a DLL, etc., Paranoid alerts the system administrator or computer user that something suspicious is afoot. Paranoid thus examines the “psychology” of a program and decides whether or not it fits the profile of a virus – and if it does, it prevents the suspicious activity from taking place.
The great advantage of Paranoid is that thanks to its intelligent analysis it doesn’t need to consult a database or whitelist to figure out what’s allowed and what isn’t – and is thus the only anti-virus application that can halt a “zero-day” attack by a brand-new virus that hasn’t shown up on the radar of the makers of “traditional” anti-virus systems. In essence, it can “abort” viruses before they even have a chance to be born! This is the first – and so far only – anti-virus technology that contextually maps all actions in the computer’s OS, ranking their threat level at each step of operation. Paranoid can intervene at any time, choking off what appears to be a program that is up to no good. If a program that acts suspiciously is actually doing what it is supposed to do, the user can whitelist in; but chances are that Paranoid already knows about that program’s behavior, since the Nyotron team researches legit programs and adds them to the Paranoid whitelist.
Gaist founded Nyotron in 2004 – and is all of 23 years old. Still, he is considered a world-class computer security expert – a confidante of Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft fame, for whom he did “deep hacking” work (to help fortify Windows) in his “younger days,” at age 13! “Paranoid is clearly a paradigm shift,” says Gaist. “Anti-virus programs are now outmoded. These require creating signatures and updating them in a database , but is the first technology in the world developed to actively protect from most types of computer threats, particularly those which cannot be detected today.”
“As security people,” he adds, “we are not used to grand exposure and involving external groups in our internal procedures, but this unique development compelled us to have ourselves inspected by the leaders of the security industry worldwide, in order to guarantee that we are indeed on the verge of a major technological breakthrough. So far, we have held dozens of meetings and demonstrations to senior security experts and the responses, as well as the partnership offers, amaze us every time. We sincerely believe and hope that through the software we developed, we will succeed in allowing a new PC user experience – one that will be quicker, efficient, effective and much more protected than the one possible today.”