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Application whitelisting: an extra layer of malware defense
This article is part of the Information Security magazine issue of April 2011
Application whitelisting makes too much pragmatic sense to not have appeal as an antimalware mechanism. Intuitively, a technology operating in the kernel that detects suspicious changes in an IT-controlled software configuration should be easier to scale than a technology that looks at all files to identify and clean attacks. Application whitelisting (AWL) came onto the security scene several years ago with an active approach to combat the success of malware infiltrating endpoints. Signature matching antivirus hasn't been able to keep pace with the volume of new attacks. Although antivirus scans are meant to detect attacks against its blacklist of malware signatures, attacks continue to sneak through, undetected by security software. In contrast, AWL validates the program the user requests to run is on the IT-approved software list and analyzes the integrity of the program before making an allow or block decision. The whitelist approach of approved applications and programs is a valuable, manageable and effective layer of ...
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Features in this issue
Application whitelisting was hyped as an antivirus killer. Its real role is serving as an added weapon in the battle against malware.
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Learn what is required for cloud migration, including retooling of network design and security controls such as encryption and DLP.
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Marcus Ranum and Gary McGraw discuss software security issues in this new bimonthly feature where Marcus Ranum goes one on one with a fellow security industry insider.