Shavlik's Antivirus Surpasses Competitors in Detecting Nasty Malware

Shavlik’s VIPRE antivirus engine has surpassed competitors in recent tests with Antivirus.org and the Malware Research Group. Today we add another to the list. Virustotal is a service that measures the detection of viruses, worms, trojan and other malware and reports how well antivirus engines perform. Virustotal reported today that VIPRE was one of only three engines (out of 41 measured) that caught “VideoPlugin_v43.exe,” a new piece of nasty malware making its way around the Internet.

Click here to learn more about Shavlik’s VIPRE engine. Also, read our latest white paper on layered security “Patch and AV: Better Together.”

– Mike Bleakmore
Product Marketing Director
Shavlik Technologies

How Much Time is Your Antivirus Solution Costing You?

If you are like most customers in the SMB space, it’s too much.  Antivirus has been around for years. Each year it seems to bring a new list of features designed to better protect your organization. That being said, this also requires your IT staff to invest more time to learn about and implement all of these new features. In addition, each new feature requires more system resources to run and tends to slow down the system’s overall performance. When was the last time you ran out to buy a new computer just so you could install the latest/greatest antivirus application?

Antivirus has become a necessity rather than an option, and antivirus products have grown over time with newer features to combat the latest threats—we started with Signature-based antivirus, and then moved into Heuristic-based antivirus, and now we have personal Intrusion Prevention Systems that monitor everything that runs or is trying to run on the system. Oftentimes these new features are implemented in newer agents or management packs that are loaded on the endpoint and consume more CPU resources- RAM, Storage, and/or CPU.  Due to the excess workload from these new features/applications/agents, it’s likely that systems have less processing power to actually power the business applications—all of which cost IT time and money.

How often do you turn on every single feature that an antivirus solution makes available? If the answer is “not often,” then why not? The answer we at Shavlik often hear from customers is it “makes the system too slow” or “it’s too difficult to configure.” However, if you do actually take the time to configure all of these new features can you actually get any work done on the system?

So what is the answer?  Don’t accept that your only option is to sacrifice actual computing time and resources just so you can have a secure system. There are antivirus solutions on the market today that consume fewer resources and provide state-of-the-art security. In addition, antivirus is not a standalone security solution, it is part of your IT toolkit that should be layered with solid patch and configuration management policies and procedures.  The benefit of this three-tiered approach to network security, especially if using a one-to-zero agent rollout, is that you will spend less time managing your solutions and more time actually getting work done and focusing on making IT a resource center vs. a cost center.

In today’s evolving threat landscape, cutting-edge techniques and a multi-layered approach to IT management are the best defenses to win the cat and mouse game that is malware creation and immunization.  For more information about how to gain control over your IT environment, download this white paper today.

– Nik Patronas
Shavlik Technologies

Power Management: Necessary or Nice to Have?

Is power management just a nice bonus feature that can result in incremental savings and show a commitment to saving the environment?  Or is power management a necessary element of network security?

Yes, the IT administrator can play the hero if cutting power consumption results in savings for the company. And, perhaps, these efforts could even garner the company substantial goodwill from customers and the community for reducing its burden on the environment.

But ultimately, power management is a critical component that enables an IT administrator to do his or her primary jobs: maintaining security of the network and managing endpoint configuration.

Power management can provide the IT team a number of benefits:

  • Wake-on-LAN –once considered too complicated, this feature is now agentless and easily configured. By implementing Wake-on-LAN functionality, a network administrator can turn on machines to perform on-demand patches and updates, and turn them off so they don’t become infected or a point where hackers can launch an after-hours attack.
  • Improved Patch Management – by using Wake-on-LAN, network administrators can feel confident that they are able to effectively patch all endpoints – whether the devices are powered on or off when the updates are ready. Reaching all the endpoints improves overall security by patching holes that hackers could exploit.
  • Compliance –some states in the US, primarily on the West Coast, are requiring businesses to turn off their computers at night to save energy, and failure to comply can result in fines. With power management capabilities, businesses can ensure that they meet these requirements and show their commitment to protecting the environment.

While some companies may be under the impression – often from past experience – that power management will require additional, dedicated resources.  However, that is no longer the case.  Today’s power management solutions can be automated and integrated into security and network management systems. As a result, it’s quick and easy for the same person who handles patching, firewalls and anti-virus protection to add power management to his or her daily duties, and not feel overextended.

In the end, power management is just what IT managers need to effectively do their job of protecting the network and corporate assets.  And by helping the company save money, some of the fiscal benefits of cutting power consumption may trickle down to the IT department, in the form of that new tablet PC, or other cutting-edge equipment that’s been on the CIO’s wish list for months.

-Mike Bleakmore
Product Marketing Director
Shavlik Technologies

SimplexITy Bundle Savings of 80 Percent

Shavlik Technologies has announced a bundle promotion of up to 80 percent off its IT management products.  So, why call it “SimplexITy”?  Because helping IT organizations manage complexity is what we do.  In fact, Wikipedia has an interesting definition of simplexity:

  • Complexity tends to rise as system elements specialize and diversify to solve specific challenges.
  • Simple interfaces tend to improve the usability of complex systems.

We couldn’t agree more with this definition.  The complexity of IT administration has rapidly increased as more and more third-party applications, devices and platforms join today’s corporate networks.  The SimplexITy bundle is designed to meet this increased complexity and simplify it to save customers both time and money.

The SimplexITy bundle delivers the following solutions at a fraction of the cost (up to 80 percent):

  • Patch – for agentless patch management
  • Configuration – for configuration and compliance management
  • Antivirus – enterprise Antivirus + Antispyware + Antimalware engine
  • Power Management – centralized control to power machines off in the evenings and on weekends AND wake machines up to deploy critical security patches.  This helps companies save both energy and money.

Click here for more information.

-Mike Bleakmore
Product Marketing Director
Shavlik Technologies

Best Practices for a Proactive Approach to Patch Management

There is a difference in regards to how people implement security.  This couldn’t be any more evident than the manner in which the United States implements airline security.  A reactive approach is what we currently employ where countless TSA agents carefully screen bags as we pass through metal detectors to attempt to control security at an instant in time.  Is this where security begins?  Absolutely not.  Security should begin the instant I buy my ticket on the airline as psychology teaches us we can more readily identify the sources of terrorism by knowing who purchased that ticket, not knowing what they are carrying through an airport.  The same logic applies to patch management.

The average computer that we track at Shavlik contains no less than 120 discrete software titles that range from device drivers which operate the individual machine to enterprise databases which every computer in a corporation connects to in order to operate the business.  Each software title that exists on these machines can be exploited.  Regardless of the use of these titles, they all open up new attack vectors for someone to gain access to your information or use your machine in a bad way.  To our TSA example moments ago, if we try and use the equivalent point-in-time devices on the order of metal detectors and scanning equipment alike by filtering exploits by firewalls on the computer, or via anti-virus, the computer will eventually succumb to the attacks as the software utilizing security exploits grows faster than the reactive measures could possibly handle.  However, if we implement proactive security like understanding and recognizing exploits, and shutting down the source of an exploit before a hacker could actually exploit it, we’re creating a safer world.

In a perfect world, anti-virus wouldn’t be necessary, and firewalls wouldn’t be necessary.  Truthfully, if there was a magic switch on the wall that we here at Shavlik could flip to turn off the darkness, we would flip it.  Don’t worry about us though, we have enough other things going on for our company.  In the absence of our magical switch though, we turn our focus to making the world as less-dark as possible by taking proactive approaches to patch management to ensure all of our customers’ networks are safe and secure.

To that end, Jason Miller, myself and others from our organization have collaborated on a Whitepaper to discuss the importance of patch management in a world which is fraught with threats.  In our world today, threats come from every direction… Malware, Viruses, Information disclosure and Denial of Service.  We aim to see the end of these risks for our customers.  In our whitepaper, we discuss

  • The importance of a critical assessment.
  • The importance of patching beyond just Microsoft.
  • How to set a schedule for patching.
  • How to partner with an expert for patching.
  • How to automate and simplify as much as possible.

It’s time we stop controlling threats when they present themselves.  It’s time we start preventing threats before they become controlling.

For more information or to download our White Paper, please click here.

– Rob

Prove It…

One of the ever present questions that continues to plague most IT organizations centers around the ability to accurately measure and report on ones current state of security. There are so many influencing factors that have to be taken into consideration when answering the question; “how secure am I”, so many that it boggles the mind. During a typical day for me, I spend most of my time discussing this very subject with customers. When I ask the question, “can you tell me how secure you are” – they usually respond with a great deal of laughter. The funny thing…to them, outwardly they’re laughing, but on the inside – they telling themselves that I really don’t know.

There are so many things that have to be taken into consideration when discussing this subject, here are just a few:

• Do I have a good understanding of number of systems I currently have, especially with the advent of VMware?
• Is Anti-virus running on all my systems, and are the signature files up-to-date?
• Are my systems patched properly?
• When we deploy a system (server or workstation), are they properly configured / hardened?
• How can I tell where I stand when I don’t have any form of good reporting that offers some form of measurability?

There are many more things to consider beyond this list in terms of ensuring the proper level of security. The key message here; establishing the ability to prove things are secure! To accomplish this, there are many solutions one could choose to address this challenge – however, the keys to success are;

• The ability to accurately assess your potential for risk (identifying the existence of every system, and current state)
• The ability to automatically remediate any know / identified vulnerabilities (missing patches, poorly configured systems, unwanted applications or malware)
• And, most importantly, the ability to assemble a set of reports that clearly illustrate your current security posture

By focusing on these key areas, you’ll have a much better understanding of your risk posture, but more importantly (if ever asked), you could PROVE IT!

Dave Eike
Shavlik Technologies