Monday, September 7, 2009

Immunet Protect Beta

Immunet Protect is a new type of AV program with a new concept - cloud based with collective intelligence. What this means for you is faster and more comprehensive protection against threats. From the Immunet website...

"Immunet Protect provides protection by harnessing the collective wisdom of the security products that you already run, as well as knowledge on the applications installed across our entire user population. Simply put, Immunet Protect collects security judgments on what is, and what is not safe from its community. These aggregated judgments are coalesced in the cloud, and, if they are sound, made available to the rest of the Immunet Community immediately."

Powerful quote and the potential for powerful software. Taking advantage of all security vendors and creating a collective intelligence offers a huge upside.

Going through the install was very painless and offered a "FlashScan" at the end of the wizard which scans running processes and registry keys.

This scan lasted a couple of minutes after which you are able to view the outcomes of the scan, and your scan history, adjust the scan settings and of course, initiate a scan. Under the Summary page you can see how many people are online participating in the community and how many threats you're protected against. 

Current Count: 9,282 people and 3,813,885 threats

On this page you can also click an invite button, which takes you to the Immunet home page. There I presume you enter your facebook credentials and invite your facebook friends to take part in the community, which I have not done at this point.

The settings page above gives several scan options. It will monitor application installs and starts, as well as an active protection mode which will check programs before they can be installed to ensure they are safe. Tray notifications seem to work well and alert me whenever a new application has started or been installed. Overall, the UI is very easy to use. 

One of the things I noticed was a very short scan time. Immunet Protect took just over 1 minute and 20 seconds to scan my system on average. This was due to Immunet scanning only 4000 files on my computer. A Norton scans will scan over 387,000 files and processes - and also takes over 45 minutes to complete. I am not sure the discrepancy here, whether it is scanning for only known threats in known locations, but it certainly left me with the question of what it actually is scanning. 

Also of note was really low resource utilization. I found it only using 12MB of RAM even during scans, so it did not slow my system at all. This seems to be a great add-on to existing virus coverage and serves as a proof-of-concept that this type of cloud based system can work. Keep in mind that this is still in beta and has only been available to the general public for a few weeks now. 

For more information or download go to