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02/2023 - 02/2023

Enterprise Advanced Security (Ransomware): Intel

Ransomware Detection Using Hardware

Ransomware Detection Using Hardware

Ransomware Detection Using Hardware

Computer processors get the final word when running programs. Can they judge bad code from good?

SE Labs tested Intel’s hardware approach to ransomware detection, using a wide range of ransomware attacks designed to extort victims. These attacks were realistic, using the same tactics and techniques as those used against victims in recent months.

Target systems included Windows PC both Intel vPro-based hardware and alternative AMD platforms. All were attacked in the same way by testers acting as we observe ransomware groups to behave.

Attacks used original ransomware malware, as seen in the wild during recent months, as well as more advanced variations designed to evade detection. In all cases the ransomware’s goal was to steal, encrypt and destroy sensitive data on the target systems.

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Product factsheet:

Attackers can disguise malware. In the same way you might try to slip past a security guard in thick glasses and a wig, hackers can take their regular code and make it look different. There are many ways to do this, but before it can achieve its ultimate goal, malware has to run, or execute. And at that stage it drops its disguise, at least as far as the hardware it runs on is concerned. As the code runs, its intentions become clear.

And this presents an opportunity for defenders – detect malware at the very last moment, just as it reveals itself while executing. The concept of ‘security on a chip’ has been around for a long time but now Intel claims that it has introduced anti-malware to its vPro hardware platform. By monitoring code as it executes, it hopes to detect malware and inform compatible security software when it does. It claims to do this by using pattern matching, via machine learning, to spot suspicious behaviour. The goal is to have a combination of security software and hardware working together to prevent infections.

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