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Vulns, exploits, hacks: Trusteer touts tech to terminate troubles

If I don't know what you're doing, I'll kill you

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Infosec 2013 Trusteer is expanding from its speciality of providing transaction protection security to financial institutions with an enterprise-level product designed to guard against zero-day exploits and social engineering.

Unpatched application vulnerabilities in widely deployed endpoint applications (such as web browsers) can be given an extra line of defence using Trusteer Apex. Adobe Acrobat, Flash, Java and Microsoft Office can also be backstopped using the software. Apex is designed to defend against both malicious web pages and dodgy attachments in spear-phishing emails.

The technology works by associating what an application is doing with the application state. For example, Apex can detect that Internet Explorer is legitimately writing a new executable file to the file system during a software update.

If something appears to be going awry, Apex will automatically stop applications from performing sensitive operations while in an unknown application state.

This sounds a bit like app whitelisting from the likes of Bit9, but Trusteer reckons its approach is easier to manage and deploy.

Dana Tamir, director of product at Trusteer, said that the "controls we have today, which typically try to blacklist bad behaviour, are not able to stop APTs. Application control is stronger but there are management issues in complex enterprise environments."

Apex features data exfiltration prevention (technology that prevents the extraction of data from compromised machines) as well as application exploit prevention.

Tamir added that Apex offered "stateful application control" that looked at the memory state and kernel process in play when a PDF file is opened, for example.

She said that Java exploits accounted for 98 per cent of the attacks blocked during trials of the technology. This covered not only browser-based hack attacks but malicious email attachments received by Microsoft Outlook clients, among other vectors.

Trusteer's Apex package is one of many similar products unveiled at Infosecurity Europe that have been touted as a means to thwart Advanced Persistent Attacks (i.e. state sponsored cyber-espionage).

Trusteer's Rapport transaction security technology is used by more than 150 financial institutions around the world to detect and block fraudulent transactions. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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