Feeds

Intel seeks security through app stores

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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function
Content aggregation, meet the workplace ... oh
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
NetWare sales revive in China thanks to that man Snowden
If it ain't Microsoft, it's in fashion behind the Great Firewall
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.