Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Ravi Rajamiyer

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Silverlight, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Bromium, The New Malware Cure

It will work initially on (presumably clean) 64-bit Windows 7 PCs using Internet Explorer 8 and 9

Please, God, let this work - even if it's not completely impenetrable, it sounds better than what we've got as we know from the Chinese.

"It" is widgetry called vSentry from a UK start-up called Bromium that promises to put an end to malware - at least in the enterprise. Bromium is too young to deal with consumers yet.

It will work initially on (presumably clean) 64-bit Windows 7 PCs using Internet Explorer 8 and 9. Later it will be moved to Intel-based Macs and other browsers. Presumably Bromium will prioritize ARM devices somehow and Windows 8 boxes will likely be supported when the enterprise actually starts deploying them.

What is does is use a lightweight second-generation species of virtualization the Bromium boys call a Microvisor to create a disposable virtual machine around every task you do on a PC - click on a URL, open a document or e-mail attachment, or a file on a thumb drive - anything can reportedly run in a Micro-VM provided the PC is based on one of the Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processors that make what's called hardware-enforced isolation possible. And that's because of Intel's Virtualization Technology (VT).

Users won't even know vSentry and its Micro-VMs are there - at least that's what its creators say.

The virtual machine cages any undetectable malware you might happen upon in a poisoned e-mail or malicious site, gives it something harmless to play with to let it think it's doing its job, and kills it when the VM is killed.

Micro-VMs are automatically discarded when an untrusted task is completed. The Intel hardware nips in the bud any move by a task in a Micro-VM to access trusted files or resources like the network, file system, clipboard and printing, handing control over to the Microvisor to see if it's legit.

The evil malware can't leak into the rest of the machine and can't leak into the enterprise or the mobile devices connected to the corporate network. And it doesn't matter what the malware is or whether it's known or not.

vSentry protects desktops that haven't been patched (not a great safeguard anyway). Users are free to download apps, collaborate, access cloud-hosted programs and the web, and open unsafe documents and media without risking enterprise's data or infrastructure.

See, the hardware virtualization guarantees that the VMs are isolated from the operating system and each other, and enterprise assets are protected by restricting the ability of each Micro-virtual machine to access data, networks and other system resources. To penetrate, the malware would have to break Intel's hardware, which is supposed to be way harder than compromising software.

The widgetry is also supposed to provide in-depth forensic capabilities to determine the intent of the attack without risk of exposure and identify the vectors, targets and methods of new attacks in real-time.

Bromium calls this Live Attack Visualization and Analysis (LAVA), and says vSentry automatically generates signatures for new attacks that legacy detection-centric tools can neither identify nor block.

It lets the malware do what it wants to do - fooling it with fakes - so it can be fully analyzed. vSentry then uploads the data to security software from, say, Symantec, McAfee or Trend Micro to identify.

vSentry, which is configured through Active Directory, debuted Wednesday at a Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit in London and Gartner fixes the value of the market it's headed for at $17.7 billion last year.

However, the Wall Street Journal says Bromium's beta customers told the company they saw the widgetry as additive to old-fashioned endpoint (albeit easily compromised) security and that may translate into a cost hurdle.

vSentry is supposed to be licensed per-user, enterprise-wide, and priced according to volume. What those prices are exactly isn't clear. Maybe a few hundred dollars a head.

The boys who created this stuff are Simon Crosby, Ian Pratt and Gaurav Banga. Crosby and Pratt created the open source Xen virtualization project - Amazon uses Xen - and sold XenSource, the company that commercialized it, to Citrix for $500 million in 2007. Pratt worked with Intel on the virtualization support in its chips. Banga was CTO at Phoenix Technologies, the BIOS outfit.

Banga is now CEO of Bromium, Crosby is CTO and Pratt is SVP, products.

Bromium has raised $35.7 million in two rounds from Highland Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Ignition, Lightspeed and Intel Capital which apparently see micro-virtualization as having the potential to be a disruptive change in information and infrastructure protection.

Business Insider said Bromium is doing for security what VMware did for servers.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and G...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "IoT Now" was named media sponsor of CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO 2018 New York, which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...