I have a number of computers; not all of which face the Internet, but those that do, are protected from compromise by a layered (or stacked), security approach.
Here’s an example of a layered security approach – one that I use on my principal home machine. The following applications are stacked on this machine, in order to cover any potential gaps in security coverage:
I should add, I use two additional free security applications, SuperAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, as secondary scanners on a weekly basis, as an added precaution.
Nothing is static though, when it comes to ensuring that my machines continue to be protected in the “real” Internet world. A world which is generally a much more demanding world, than that experienced by an average computer user.
Since I operate in this real world – not a test tube environment, I expect my antimalware applications to pass “real world” testing – not “test tube” testing, before relying on them for protection.
For this reason, when I test anti-malware applications, it often takes considerable time in order to get to the heart of the matter – does an application work in “my real Internet world?”
Arguable, the majority of available antimalware applications continue to rely on well established technologies. You could, if you like, replace “well established”, with “old”, or, some might say – “outdated”.
Since most viruses, worms, Trojans and other types of Internet threats only last 24 hours, how do security applications that rely on a definition database to identify malware files (most anti-malware applications), keep up with this onslaught? The simple answer is; they don’t.
Contrast this, with new and emerging security technologies, particularly Cloud based antimalware applications.
I was recently introduced to a new Cloud based antimalware solution, Immunet Protect, which I have since come to rely on, and have now added to my layered security approach.
Immunet Protect, despite the fact it is Beta (a new enhanced final version is scheduled for release at the end of May which will include active scanning), is a community based antimalware solution which makes it just a little bit different – but in a highly positive way. If you’re familiar with the Browser protection application WOT (Web of Trust), then you have a sense of “community based” applications.
In real time, Immunet Protect keeps track of the state of security in the collective community (network), and should a member of the network (the community), encounter malware, you (as a member of the protected community), are instantly protected against the threat.
Or, as the developer puts it – “Every time someone in this collective community encounters a threat, everyone else in the community gains protection from that same threat – in real time.”
A rather more impressive security solution than you having to wait for a malware definition database update. An update that may take several days. Days in which you are effectively open to infection.
Nevertheless, Immunet Protect has been developed to work in conjunction with the most popular antimalware solutions, for added protection. A list of compatible antimalware solutions follows, later in this article.
Installation was straightforward and ran without complication, as the following screen capture indicates.
Immediately following installation you may choose to run a “Flash Scan”, which probes running process, and load point process, for contamination.
Having the ability to share Immunet Protect with your Facebook and Twitter contacts, I though, was a very cool feature. After all, there is strength in increasing numbers.
Setting the operating parameters (the protection settings), is, again, straightforward.
The following screen capture illustrates the results of my first Flash Scan. Notice that Immunet Protect tracks programs installed over a selectable time frame, and indicates the safety of the installs. As well, the total number of current threats for which protection is offered, is indicated. In this case, 12 Million, plus.
The History function provides you with a database of scans completed and the results of those scan.
When active, an Immunet Protect icon (far left), sits in the Taskbar as the following screen capture shows. In this screen capture you can also see my primary security solutions are active and responsive.
I must admit, I feel an added sense of security when following boot up, Immunet Protect runs an automatic Flash Scan.
Finally, there is virtually no draw against system resources while running Immunet Protect, on a dual core Windows 7 test platform.
Should you consider installing, and running, a Cloud Antivirus as supplementary antimalware protection?
If you are uncertain, then consider this:
The Internet is an uncertain world at the best of times
Cybercriminals design specific malware to exploit vulnerable systems without user interaction being required.
No single security application is capable (nor should we expect a single application to be capable), of providing adequate computer system protection. Gaps exist, in protection capabilities, in even the most sophisticated security applications.
Layering (or stacking) security applications, offers the best chance of remaining infection free, by closing these gaps.
A cloud based protective solution, in this case Immunet Protect, is a major step in shoring up any weaknesses, or gaps, and significantly increase your overall ability to detect malware.
Keep in mind however, that even the best layered protection strategy will not make up for lack of experience, and intuitiveness, when surfing the Internet. So, I’ll repeat what I have said here, many times – “knowledge, awareness, and experience are critical ingredients in the escalating battle, against cybercriminals.”
The following Anti-Virus packages have been tested to work alongside the Immunet Protect beta. Immunet Protect should be able to install alongside these packages and significantly increase your overall ability to detect viruses.
AVG 8.5 (Free) (Windows XP SP2 / Vista)
AVG 9 Free (Windows XP SP3 / Vista SP1 / Windows 7)
Avast! Free & Premium 4.8/5.0 (Windows XP SP3 / Vista SP1 / Windows 7)
Avira 2009 Personal Free (Windows XP SP3)
Norton Anti-Virus 2008 (Windows XP SP2)
Norton Anti-Virus 2009 (Windows XP SP2 / Vista)
Norton Internet Security 2008 (Windows XP SP2)
Norton Internet Security 2009 (Windows XP SP2 / Vista)
Norton Internet Security 2010 (Windows XP SP3 / Vista SP1 / Windows 7)
Norton 360 2009 (Windows XP SP2 / Vista)
Norton 360 2010 (Windows XP SP2 / Vista SP1 / Windows 7)
Mcafee Security Center 9.3 (Windows XP SP3 / Vista)
Mcafee Security Center 2009 (Windows XP SP2)
Microsoft Security Essentials (Windows XP SP3 / Vista SP1 / Windows 7)
Trend AntiVirus 2010 (Windows XP SP3 / Vista SP1 / Windows 7)
Trend AntiVirus + AntiSpyware 2010 (Windows XP SP3 / Vista SP1 / Windows 7)
Trend Virus Buster 2010 Vista (Japanese Marketplace) (Windows XP SP3 / Vista SP1 / Windows 7)
K7 Total Security 2010 (Windows XP SP3 / Vista SP1 / Windows 7)
System requirements: Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or later, Vista (32-bit and 64 bit), Seven (32-bit and 64-bit).
Download at: Developer’s site (IMMUNET)
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