Exploit Blocker is designed to fortify application types on users’ systems that are often exploited, such as web browsers, PDF readers, email clients or MS Office components. It adds another layer of protection one step closer to attackers by using a technology that is completely different to techniques that focus on detection of malicious files themselves.
Instead, it monitors the behavior of processes and looks out for suspicious activities that are typical for exploits. When triggered, the behavior of the process is analyzed and, if considered suspicious, the threat may be blocked immediately on the machine, with further metadata about the attack being sent to our LiveGrid® cloud system. This information is further processed and correlated, which enables us to spot previously unknown threats, so called zero-day attacks, and provides our lab with valuable threat intelligence.
Java Exploit Blocker
Java Exploit Blocker uncovers attempts to take advantage of weaknesses in Java. It keeps a constant lookout over processes for any signs of suspicious activity or behavior. Threats are blocked and the fingerprint is sent to ESET LiveGrid® cloud system to ward off future attacks.
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Botnet protection provides another, network-based layer of detection to reveal possible running threats.
It searches outgoing network communications for known malicious patterns, and matches the remote site against a blacklist of malicious ones. Any detected malicious communication is blocked and reported to the user.
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Advanced Memory Scanner
Advanced Memory Scanner couples nicely with Exploit Blocker, as it is also designed to strengthen protection against modern malware. In an effort to evade detection, malware writers extensively use file obfuscation and/or encryption. This causes problems with unpacking and can pose a challenge for common anti-malware techniques, such as emulation or heuristics. To tackle this problem, the Advanced Memory Scanner monitors the behavior of a malicious process and scans it once it decloaks in the memory. This allows for effective detection of even heavily obfuscated malware. Unlike Exploit Blocker, this is a post-execution method, which means that there is a risk that some malicious activity could have been performed already. However, it steps into the protection chain as a last resort when everything else fails.
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Vulnerability shield is an extension of firewall and improves detection of known vulnerabilities on the network level.
By implementing detection for common vulnerabilities in widely used protocols, such as SMB, RPC and RDP, it constitutes another important layer of protection against spreading malware, network-conducted attacks and exploitation of vulnerabilities for which a patch has not yet been released or deployed.Related products: Vulnerability Shield is used in
ESET LiveGrid® is an advanced early warning system comprised of several cloud-based technologies. It helps to detect emerging threats based on file and URL reputation and improves scanning performance by means of whitelisting. New threat information is streamed in real-time to the cloud, which enables the ESET Malware Research Lab to provide timely response and consistent protection at all times. ESET malware researchers use the information to build an accurate snapshot of the nature and scope of global threats, which helps us to focus on the right targets.
The ESET LiveGrid reputation system improves the efficiency of ESET anti-malware solutions by comparing scanned files to a vast database of already known objects in the cloud. When an executable file or archive is being inspected on a user’s system, its hashtag is first compared against these white- and blacklisted items. If the inspected item is found on the whitelist, it is considered clean and is flagged to be excluded from future scans. If it is on the blacklist, appropriate actions are taken – based on the nature of the threat. Only if no match is found the file in question is scanned thoroughly. This approach has a significant positive impact on our products’ scanning performance.
Previously unknown suspicious samples/objects are collected and automatically processed (including sandboxing) on our backend systems in the cloud. If a sample is proven malicious, automated signatures are generated and immediately pushed out to our customers. This mechanism allows for effective detection of emerging threats even before the regular signatures are delivered to users’ computer via our standard signature database update (which happens several times a day).
Related products: ESET LiveGrid® Technology is used in all ESET antivirus products:
Anti-Phishing technology protects you from attempts to acquire passwords, banking data and other sensitive information by fake websites, masquerading as legitimate ones.
When a user’s computer attempts to access a URL, ESET systems compare it against our database of known phishing sites. If a match is found, connection to the URL is aborted and a warning message is displayed. At this point, the user has the option to proceed to the URL at his/her own risk or report the URL to us as a potential false positive warning.
The Anti-phishing database is updated by ESET regularly (users’ computers receive data about new phishing threats every 20 minutes).
Along with this straightforward approach, ESET Anti-Phishing implements specific proactive algorithms. These inspect the visual design of websites in an effort to eliminate those mimicking their genuine counterparts. This approach is used to detect, for example, fake internet banking forms.
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Malware sample processing
ESET’s Security Research Lab receives many infected samples from various sources every day. Sample submissions from customers, distributors and partners (sent to firstname.lastname@example.org) are an important source of new malware.
Other sources include sample exchange or active honey pots, for example. After being pre-processed by automated algorithms, the received samples are reviewed by a team of detection engineers and malware analysts. Their job is to decide whether the submitted file or URL is malicious, and if it is, to create a suitable detection signature or algorithm for it.
There are several types of detection signatures and the detection engineer has to choose the most effective one depending on the characteristics of the malware. Newly created signatures are then packed together and released to our users in the form of a Virus Signature Database Update. These updates are rolled out several times a day, 24-7-365.
ESET’s scanning engine uses several types of detection signatures for detecting malicious objects (files, processes, URLs, etc.).
The signature types range from very specific hashes (useful, for example, in targeting specific malicious binaries, specific versions of malware, for statistical purposes, or simply for giving a more precise detection name to a malware that we have been detecting heuristically) to DNA-based Smart Signatures, which are rather complex definitions of malicious behavior and malware characteristics. These signatures also rely on heuristics and emulation to evaluate the scanned sample.
The strength of ESET’s proactive detection lies in the Smart DNA signatures. They mean that the detection is effective, as well as efficient – a single well-crafted signature can detect thousands of related malware variants and enables our antivirus software not only to detect malware that we already know of, or have seen before, but also new, previously unknown variants.
When a computer is infected with malware, it will usually suffice to delete the detected file(s) in order to clean the infected system. But in certain cases – for example when the malware has modified operating system files, tampered with the system Registry or when a parasitic virus has infected the user’s own files – the situation gets more complicated. Simply deleting the infected file could cause data loss or even render the computer unbootable.
Therefore, a different approach – cleaning or disinfection of the infected files – has to be taken. In most such cases the cleaning is performed directly by the installed antivirus. Exceptionally, however, the disinfection steps are too complex or simply too dangerous (system stability-wise) and we may opt to release standalone cleaners for this purpose. These are available free of charge, also for non-customers.
Advanced Heuristics is one of the technologies used for proactive detection. It provides the ability to detect unknown malware based on its functionality through emulation. The latest version introduces a completely new way of code emulation based on binary translation.
This new binary translator helps to bypass anti-emulation tricks used by malware writers. Along these improvements, DNA-based scanning has also been extended significantly. This allows for better detections which address current malware more accurately.
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