16 July 2016
In the past weeks I tried hard to get an idea of the capabilities of Blue Ridge Networks AppGuard. To be honest, I would not like to miss AppGuard anymore. AppGuard creates the really good feeling that, under certain conditions, many cyber-attacks are simply rendered ineffective.
AppGuard is a perfect means against all kind of Trojans and downloaders, in particular zero days. Characteristic for this kind of malware is that the malware directly drops a malicious program or downloads a malicious program from the attacker’s server and executes it afterwards. This includes e.g. most of the known Ransomware.
The User Space and MemoryGuard concept just blocks this kind of malware out-of-the-box, provided that the User Space concept is not undermined by a user who is working with high privileges permanently. In fact, if the user works with privileges which allow the Trojan program to store files outside the User Space, the concept will no longer work.
It is strongly recommended to work with the least possible privileges under normal conditions. For the case higher privileges are requested, set up an extra account with the required privileges and supply the credentials of this account if UAC requests higher privileges.
More advanced malware may try to use the Windows auto-elevation feature to acquire higher privileges and to compromise AppGuard. To protect from auto-elevation attacks just set UAC to ‘Always notify me’.
This works even in the case of a gaming computer, where e.g. WOW and TeamSpeak are heavily used. Why shouldn’t it work on a standard system?
In addition, it is strongly recommended to disable macro execution in all kind of office software, e.g. Microsoft Office, OpenOffice or LibreOffice.
Memory Guard protects against all kind of zero-day drive-by downloads, PuP (Potentially unwanted Programs) or file-less malware.
AppGuard does not protect against any kind of password phishing attacks. Although popular internet browsers block many malicious URLs through URL reputation, e.g. SmartScreen Filtering in Internet Explorer or Firefox, this will not protect in the case of zero-days.
To reduce the likelihood of credential theft, turn on Two-Factor Authentication (TFA) for as many as possible internet services you use. If TFA cannot be enabled, choose a strong password and take care, means:
User awareness is the basic part of the entire security stack!
To put it succinctly: The proposed security stack will dramatically reduce the risk of cyber-attacks. Blue Ridge Networks AppGuard is an important component of this stack, in particular for the protection against all kind of zero-days.
Have a good weekend.