Feeds

Intel seeks security through app stores

Walled gardens are good for us... er... you

3 Big data security analytics techniques

IDF Intel appears to be proposing to turn the x86 software market into an Apple-style apps store, and it's doing so in the name of security. One casualty will be anti-virus software as we know it.

Speaking at IDF this week about Intel's purchase of anti-malware monger McAfee, CEO Paul Otellini spoke of a need to move from a "known bad" to a "known good" model. In essence, that means no longer checking code for known forms of malware after it has been installed but only allowing safe code to be installed in the first place.

Intel's plan is to "give you a trusted machine that only allows in trusted software", Otellini said.

How do you do that? By signing that code with a signature guaranteeing its authenticity and safety, then preventing unsigned code from being run.

This is what Apple does with the iTunes App Store and, to a lesser extent, with Mac OS X 10.6 code. Snow Leopard apps can be signed, but unsigned code will still run. iOS code, on the other hand, will not run unless it's been signed, at least on iDevices that haven't been jailbroken.

Intel already has an app store: AppUp, the Atom-oriented software store it announced last year and opened to the public this week. it's not hard to view AppUp as a prototype for a broader shop that sells all kinds of "trusted" x86 software.

Some users will of course object to this, fearing the PC software market will become an Apple-style walled garden. We can't see the Linux community being keen on such a move either, freedom of code being one of the tenets of the open source culture.

But a fair few mainstream users, we suspect, will be happy with such restrictions if it means they can be sure the software they download is safe to use. The walled garden approach hasn't hindered Apple in any way, iOS users happily downloading dozens of apps irrespective of the limitations, or the security benefits.

So that's the end of anti-virus utilities then? Quite possibly. Only allowing a system to run "trusted" code would inherently prevent malware that's spread through email or rogue websites from executing.

More to the point, by shifting away from the need to compare code against the ever-growing database of malware, there'd be no need for regular virus definition updates that AV vendors' subscription sales model is based upon. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
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.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
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.