Feeds

The decline of antivirus and the rise of whitelisting

Drumbeats get louder

3 Big data security analytics techniques

The recent acquisition of SecureWave by PatchLink was not so much an acquisition as a merger, with PatchLink being the senior partner. With 3400 customers it had about twice the customer base as SecureWave and it also had about twice the staff.

The merger probably sent a shock wave or two through the declining AntiVirus industry, because it has created a bigger and more powerful whitelisting vendor. As far as SecureWave is concerned, it will now have three times as many salesmen out there pointing out that AV technology is ineffective. The drumbeat just seems to get louder with every passing month.

The talk amongst the whitelisting vendors (Patchlink, AppSense, Bit9, SignaCert, CA et al) is that the AV vendors are now beginning to realise that their time has passed and the majors (Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro) are looking for ways to join the whitelisting movement without poisoning their AV revenues.

You will soon be hearing positioning statements about "the need for both solutions" when in fact there is no need at all for AV once you have whitelisting. But never mind. It is important that they "come to Jesus" in whatever way they can, because we'll never stop the global virus plague until AV becomes defunct.

If you speak to the management of either Patchlink or SecureWave they'll provide you with a series of reasons why the merger between the two makes sense, in terms of growth goals, customer base, geographical coverage, corporate culture, etc. And from such perspectives it probably did make sense, but the synergy that interests me most is the technical synergy. Patchlink, if you weren't aware, is the dominant vendor in the patch management space and its software caters for heterogenous environments. (It also has remediation technology). Its software needs to manage and secure a list of valid executables, just like whitelisting software does.

Actually there are a whole series of network issues that require the management of a list of valid executables including software license management, software usage auditing, software provisioning and so on. AV technology never had much to say about this issue. To be honest it was always PC software in spirit and AV companies tended not to think of their technology as part of an end-to-end security solution. In any event, there is a need for a common (probably federated) store of information about executables which comes within the remit of the CMDB (Configuration Management Database) which system management vendors will happily tell you about because it is required for system amendment as well as security.

So even if AV technology was capable of stopping viruses effectively, which it isn't, it would have no contribution to make to the management of executables. Whitelisting software does because, aside from stopping all malware stone dead, it can prevent the use of old versions of software or software that violates corporate policy.

The inevitable destiny of whitelisting technology is to share its data with some global repository as it contributes to the end-to-end management of security. Technically, that's what the merger of Patchlink with SecureWave is about. It's a move to establish an end-to-end IT security capability. From my perspective, it's a move in the right direction.

©, 2007 Robin Bloor

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.