Click here to close now.

Welcome!

MICROSERVICES Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, XebiaLabs Blog, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Security, XML, MICROSERVICES, Web 2.0

Security: Article

Try App Whitelisting to Mitigate Malware

It’s the doorman of the software world

There will always be a threat from malware - malicious software that is designed to steal or corrupt data on computers. Malware affects everyone from security services to silver surfers, and when it isn't checked it can wreak havoc.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter what size your business is, whether you're a multinational or a sole trader, the threat from malware is real and present, which means that you'll need a solution. Usually this means anti-virus software, but keeping on top of updates and distributing these to all of the computers in your organization requires regular attention.

Can application whitelisting help? Is it even a valid alternative, or should your business stick to the tried and tested solution of anti-virus software and malware removal tools that detect and quarantine malicious software, keyloggers, rootkits and Trojans?

The Typical SME Approach to Anti-Virus and Malware
If you are responsible for managing online security in your organization or you're involved as a stakeholder or an engineer, you will appreciate that most businesses take a reactive approach to virus and malware threats.

If a virus or malware infects one or more computers, steps are taken to update the AV software (typically by downloading the latest virus signatures) and remove the infection. In most cases this is successful - anti-virus software is generally fit for this purpose. However, there may be cases when virus signatures have yet to be added, making it difficult for the anti-virus software to find and remove the infection.

When malware is uncovered and the anti-virus solution is unable to deal with it, as is the situation in most cases, the latest version of one of the popular anti-malware tools should be used.

You might find that running the removal process in Safe Mode works best. Although it typically takes over an hour for a single infected computer, you should eventually be able to diagnose the machine as safe to use. In extreme cases, it can take a few hours to rebuild the machine because remediation efforts fail.

It's all rather slow, though, isn't it? More to the point, it is reactive rather than proactive.

How Application Whitelisting Can Help
In the horrific circumstance that all of your computers have been infected with malware, you might be pulling your hair out trying to raise as many engineers as possible while making alternative arrangements for users affected by the problem.

Or, you could be carrying on with the expected day's work, safe in the knowledge that there is no outbreak; no malware has been installed and no data has been lost or stolen.

Unless you run a computer network that has no Internet connection and a "no disks" policy, the only way to fully protect your users from malware is to employ a solution that uses application whitelisting, a process that protects the software that controls the behavior of your computers. If the software is not on the whitelist, it won't run.

It's the doorman of the software world, in many ways. Basically, if your name's not down, you're not coming in.

Is Application Whitelisting the Solution or Part of the Equation?
As things stand, no single solution can exist as anti-virus software companies are busy keeping their applications up-to-date, with both virus signatures and tools to prevent the applications from being targeted by viruses. This means that it is unlikely at present that any AV or anti-malware developer will branch out into providing a complete application whitelisting solution.

Similarly, application whitelisting cannot claim to be the complete solution as it can't deal with the task of removing threats.

It is, therefore, the perfect companion to anti-malware applications. When correctly configured application whitelisting can protect individual computers, servers and entire networks from malware.

Be Proactive, Not Reactive
Whichever way you look at it, the reactive solution of anti-virus and malware removal tools is only a single item on your network security utility belt. It has been proven to work in quarantining the offending code but is largely useless in actually protecting computers from being infected in the first place.

This is why application whitelisting is vital as a proactive solution. Using both in tandem can leave you with an extremely secure network that is protected against malware and anti-virus however they might be introduced (targeted attacks, USB sticks, or malicious attachments to emails).

Whitelists are widely used in website blocking and spam email management. Employing an application whitelist to protect your computers from malicious code that tries to run or install is a logical step to take in the fight against malware.

More Stories By Paul Paget

Paul Paget is CEO of Savant Protection based in Hudson, NH. Savant Protection’s automated application whitelisting is being used by SMEs, including regional banks, credit unions and local governments to proactively stop malware and safeguard endpoints. You can contact Paul at [email protected]

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Modern Systems announced completion of a successful project with its new Rapid Program Modernization (eavRPMa"c) software. The eavRPMa"c technology architecturally transforms legacy applications, enabling faster feature development and reducing time-to-market for critical software updates. Working with Modern Systems, the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) leveraged eavRPMa"c to transform its Student Information System from Software AG's Natural syntax to a modern application lev...
SYS-CON Events announced today Sematext Group, Inc., a Brooklyn-based Performance Monitoring and Log Management solution provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Sematext is a globally distributed organization that builds innovative Cloud and On Premises solutions for performance monitoring, alerting and anomaly detection (SPM), log management and analytics (Logsene), search analytics (S...
In the midst of the widespread popularity and adoption of cloud computing, it seems like everything is being offered “as a Service” these days: Infrastructure? Check. Platform? You bet. Software? Absolutely. Toaster? It’s only a matter of time. With service providers positioning vastly differing offerings under a generic “cloud” umbrella, it’s all too easy to get confused about what’s actually being offered. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Kevin Hazard, Director of Digital Content for SoftL...
Hosted PaaS providers have given independent developers and startups huge advantages in efficiency and reduced time-to-market over their more process-bound counterparts in enterprises. Software frameworks are now available that allow enterprise IT departments to provide these same advantages for developers in their own organization. In his workshop session at DevOps Summit, Troy Topnik, ActiveState’s Technical Product Manager, will show how on-prem or cloud-hosted Private PaaS can enable organ...
When it comes to microservices there are myths and uncertainty about the journey ahead. Deploying a “Hello World” app on Docker is a long way from making microservices work in real enterprises with large applications, complex environments and existing organizational structures. February 19, 2015 10:00am PT / 1:00pm ET → 45 Minutes Join our four experts: Special host Gene Kim, Gary Gruver, Randy Shoup and XebiaLabs’ Andrew Phillips as they explore the realities of microservices in today’s IT worl...
The world's leading Cloud event, Cloud Expo has launched Microservices Journal on the SYS-CON.com portal, featuring over 19,000 original articles, news stories, features, and blog entries. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. Microservices Journal offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. Follow new article posts on T...
SYS-CON Media announced that IBM, which offers the world’s deepest portfolio of technologies and expertise that are transforming the future of work, has launched ad campaigns on SYS-CON’s numerous online magazines such as Cloud Computing Journal, Virtualization Journal, SOA World Magazine, and IoT Journal. IBM’s campaigns focus on vendors in the technology marketplace, the future of testing, Big Data and analytics, and mobile platforms.
Microservice architectures are the new hotness, even though they aren't really all that different (in principle) from the paradigm described by SOA (which is dead, or not dead, depending on whom you ask). One of the things this decompositional approach to application architecture does is encourage developers and operations (some might even say DevOps) to re-evaluate scaling strategies. In particular, the notion is forwarded that an application should be built to scale and then infrastructure sho...
SYS-CON Events announced today the IoT Bootcamp – Jumpstart Your IoT Strategy, being held June 9–10, 2015, in conjunction with 16th Cloud Expo and Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Javits Center in New York City. This is your chance to jumpstart your IoT strategy. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but includes hands-on demos and walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of Do-It-Yourself IoT platforms including Arduino, Ras...
For those of us that have been practicing SOA for over a decade, it's surprising that there's so much interest in microservices. In fairness microservices don't look like the vendor play that was early SOA in the early noughties. But experienced SOA practitioners everywhere will be wondering if microservices is actually a good thing. You see microservices is basically an SOA pattern that inherits all the well-known SOA principles and adds characteristics that address the use of SOA for distribut...
Microservices are the result of decomposing applications. That may sound a lot like SOA, but SOA was based on an object-oriented (noun) premise; that is, services were built around an object - like a customer - with all the necessary operations (functions) that go along with it. SOA was also founded on a variety of standards (most of them coming out of OASIS) like SOAP, WSDL, XML and UDDI. Microservices have no standards (at least none deriving from a standards body or organization) and can be b...
Our guest on the podcast this week is Jason Bloomberg, President at Intellyx. When we build services we want them to be lightweight, stateless and scalable while doing one thing really well. In today's cloud world, we're revisiting what to takes to make a good service in the first place. Listen in to learn why following "the book" doesn't necessarily mean that you're solving key business problems.
Right off the bat, Newman advises that we should "think of microservices as a specific approach for SOA in the same way that XP or Scrum are specific approaches for Agile Software development". These analogies are very interesting because my expectation was that microservices is a pattern. So I might infer that microservices is a set of process techniques as opposed to an architectural approach. Yet in the book, Newman clearly includes some elements of concept model and architecture as well as p...
SYS-CON Events announced today the DevOps Foundation Certification Course, being held June ?, 2015, in conjunction with DevOps Summit and 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. This sixteen (16) hour course provides an introduction to DevOps – the cultural and professional movement that stresses communication, collaboration, integration and automation in order to improve the flow of work between software developers and IT operations professionals. Improved workflows will res...
Microservices, for the uninitiated, are essentially the decomposition of applications into multiple services. This decomposition is often based on functional lines, with related functions being grouped together into a service. While this may sound a like SOA, it really isn't, especially given that SOA was an object-centered methodology that focused on creating services around "nouns" like customer and product. Microservices, while certainly capable of being noun-based, are just as likely to be v...
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch ...
OmniTI has expanded its services to help customers automate their processes to deliver high quality applications to market faster. Consistent with its focus on IT agility and quality, OmniTI operates under DevOps principles, exploring the flow of value through the IT delivery process, identifying opportunities to eliminate waste, realign misaligned incentives, and open bottlenecks. OmniTI takes a unique, value-centric approach by plotting each opportunity in an effort-payoff quadrant, then work...
An explosive combination of technology trends will be where ‘microservices’ and the IoT Internet of Things intersect, a concept we can describe by comparing it with a previous theme, the ‘X Internet.' The idea of using small self-contained application components has been popular since XML Web services began and a distributed computing future of smart fridges and kettles was imagined long back in the early Internet years.
SOA Software has changed its name to Akana. With roots in Web Services and SOA Governance, Akana has established itself as a leader in API Management and is expanding into cloud integration as an alternative to the traditional heavyweight enterprise service bus (ESB). The company recently announced that it achieved more than 90% year-over-year growth. As Akana, the company now addresses the evolution and diversification of SOA, unifying security, management, and DevOps across SOA, APIs, microser...
Cloud computing is changing the way we look at IT costs, according to industry experts on a recent Cloud Luminary Fireside Chat panel discussion. Enterprise IT, traditionally viewed as a cost center, now plays a central role in the delivery of software-driven goods and services. Therefore, companies need to understand their cloud utilization and resulting costs in order to ensure profitability on their business offerings. Led by Bernard Golden, this fireside chat offers valuable insights on ho...