E-Set On Security

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We take a good first look at the next generation ESET Endpoint solutions

Meeting the security needs of two different segments has been a challenge that is very difficult to be met by security vendors, especially for companies and SMEs who are very picky about the security solutions that they choose to secure their IT infrastructure.

The ESET Endpoint Solutions is part of the Czech security company's new generation of products for SMBs (small-to-medium businesses) and enterprise customers. Used by companies such as Intel, Canon Japan and China Tobacco, the ESET endpoint solutions combine cloud-powered scanning technology with ESET's live grid system and its own ThreatSense scanning engine for improved security performance.

Description: Ignacio Sbampato, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for ESET
Ignacio Sbampato, chief sales and marketing officer for ESET

"As in the rest of the world, malware infections continue to plague businesses and consumers in Asia-Pacific. Many of these malware instances can be avoided with better user education." said Pierre Marc Bureau, security intelligence program manager, ESET.

The ESET Endpoint Solutions also comes with a version for the home user, called the ESET smart security. Both these enterprise and home user security solutions come with similar features including Antivirus, malware and rootkit, cloud-based whitelisting, host intrusion prevention system and Microsoft network access protection support.

The Endpoint Solution meanwhile has several key endpoint protection features, including Bi-directional Firewall for open networks, Client Antispam, Web Control for filtering websites within the network, URL blacklisting and component based installation.

Description: Pierre Marc Bureau, security intelligence program manager, ESET
Pierre Marc Bureau, security intelligence program manager, ESET

To make things easier, ESET has also introduced a new licensing solution called Unilicense, which allows users to connect one ESET endpoint license to multiple devices. As ESET’s solutions cover a wide range of operating systems and devices, the unilicense concept is an excellent way to keep track of the devices that have the security solutions installed.

Speaking of devices, ESET has also launched a new security app for Android devices called the ESET mobile security for Android. Features of this app include thorough scanning of downloaded files and messages for malware, GPS localisation for tracking purposes and even call intercept and remote wipe as a last gasp measure, so that your phone’s data is not compromised.

ESET Endpoint Solutions and ESET Smart Security were both launched on the second half of May, with existing customers of the business editions of ESET NOD32 Antivirus and ESET Smart Security both being eligible for a free upgrade to both versions respectively.

The ESET Mobile Security for Android app meanwhile is already available on the Google Play Store for free for the first 30 days of using it.

Trends in malware

As an online security firm, ESET constantly tracks down worms and malware that have, as of late, become more and more of a threat to not only home users, but businesses and corporations worldwide.

Pierre Marc-Bureau said that in the first quarter of 2012, as many as malware are detected daily, with malicious files and URLs coming in at the hundreds of thousands. The ratio of users encountering such malware is also large, with five percent of its worldwide user base encountering such malware daily.

In view of such worrying numbers, ESET has recently launched a new office in Montreal, Canada that specializes in malware reverse engineering and botnet tracking, so that the malware issue can be nipped at the bud, making the Internet much safer for users.

Description: Eva Markova, chief operations officer of ESET Asia Pacific
Eva Markova, chief operations officer of ESET Asia Pacific

Some of the examples of malware attacks recently includes the Win32/ Georbot malware, which specifically targets its attacks towards Georgian Internet users, with the aim to steal sensitive information from computers that are infected. Not only that the hackers can also gain control of webcams and microphones (if any) of the infected machines.

One of the biggest attacks of the year so far happened on a platform that most consider to be one of the most secure, the MacOSX. The OSX/Flashback worm, at its peak infected 600,000 Macs, and is one of the most complex malware known in recent history. It features a multi- component, advanced cryptography that makes cracking it down a very difficult task.

The fact that each malware ID is created for that specific targeted machines did not make it any less easy to contain. It is deduced that the method of dissemination was most likely done through advertisement delivery via websites or email. Whilst not fully cracked yet, it is slowly being cleaned up, with various antivirus companies and Apple themselves pushing out patches to close up the exploit.

Description: ESET Asia Pacific

ESET Asia Pacific

Despite being malicious, Pierre added that malware authors are in the end, human, as the main motivation behind such attacks is typically profit, either in terms of money or information obtained. Malware attacks are also typically low risk operations as tasks are usually delegated in teams of people who could be from anywhere in the world.

The fact that malware attacks usually start from a set of botnet servers also make it difficult to track down the culprits, although there have been joint efforts between the security firms and law enforcement agencies that managed to track down the criminals.

Whilst malware attacks are more common in the Americas and European region, Asia is also not free from such targeted attacks. Some of these include Win32/Toolbar, Win32/lnjector, Win32/ Adware and Win32/Dorkbot. Most of these attacks, according to Pierre come from online advertisements, and most likely unwanted applications that install themselves when users download a program from any unsafe websites.

Some of the more specific methods of malware infection in the Asian region include advertisements, online games password stealers and spam mails, although the infection rate is still kept relatively low.

ESET has also been doing some research in future malware trends, and some of the threats to look out for include banking information stealers that target small and medium businesses (SMBs), more "grey zone" software, MBR rootkits which completely disable computers and an increase in attacks on emerging platforms such as Android smartphones and tablets.

In order to stay safe, according to ESET, users need to always apply updates on their operating systems, antivirus software, and use strong passphrases instead of just passwords, and to practice using different passphrases for different online services for optimum safety.

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