Kaspersky scores patent for hardware-based antivirus

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Matthew DeCarlo

Posts: 5,271   +104

The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Kaspersky Labs a patent for a hardware-based antivirus. The Moscow-based security company is behind one of the most popular paid antivirus applications, and offers a range software security options.

Filed last September, the firm's freshly minted patent (7,657,941) is for an antivirus system "based on a hardware-implemented AV module for curing infected computer systems and a method for updating AV databases for effective curing of the computer system." The device is installed between a computer's disk drive and CPU/RAM, and is connected to the system bus or integrated into the disk controller. Once in place, it determines what data will be permitted to write to the disk and issues threat alerts.

The dongle is basically a separate system running an embedded antivirus program. It has its own processor and memory, and it can work alone or with AV software installed on the primary computer. Such a solution offers several benefits. For starters, it's situated below the level of rootkits and thus cannot be bypassed by them. Also, since the device carries its own CPU and RAM, it would require few to no resources from the main computer to operate.

Whether Kaspersky's hardware-based AV is more effective remains to be seen, but some are already criticizing it. It's said the device doesn't have network access, so it can't update on its own and will require the assistance of software installed on your machine, introducing another possible security risk.

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Posts: 648   +58
An interesting concept...but will it really work? And will it be a practical solution for the not so savvy computer users? Or is this going to lean towards more of a corporate solution (although additional hardware on several machines may be cost and performance prohibitive)? Regardless, I think it is a step in the right direction (much like routers can serve as hardware firewalls).


Posts: 6,906   +10
It always takes a long time to market after the patent process is completed... usualy time is two years, so we have some time to wait and read up on all their promo stuff.


I forsee this slowing down powerful apps because every packet is inspected and every disk and memory access is inspected.


Posts: 488   +10
Those are positives yes; however, if it needs to have it's database updated that opens it up to attacks. Moreover, the other side to this is the potential for it becoming a bottle neck; being between components like Harddisk/CPU/RAM may cause delays.

Let's hope there is a mechanism to turn it on and off. After the use cases are smoothed out this can become a very powerful family of products. But control must not be taken away from the consumer.

Currently there is a market for casual users of the Internet. The elderly in-law and others that are more likely to fall prey to many of the common attack vectors are prime customers. That is people who like to download everything they see, or click links in strange emails etc with out a second thought.


Posts: 422   +9
very interesting, its a good step too , an antivirus has a huge huge affect on any PCs performance, a hardware solution might be really good
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