Intel to develop hardware rootkit detection chip

By | December 8, 2005

Intel is trying to eliminate the human factor when dealing with root-kits detection by developing a new hardware-based technique to discover and notify users when they are downloading unintentionally a root-kit to their computer.

According to Intel, their new project involves placing a small chip on a PC’s motherboard to monitor constantly programs that might be affected of a malicious attack. Travis Schluessle, a researcher with Intel, said that the project goal is to detect when unnecessary memory modifications are made to programs or system services.

“We need to connect the computers directly to the data, so the human beings don´t have to be the I/O channel, and elevate the role of the human being to a more supervisory role,” said David Tennenhouse, director of research at the company.

Intel doesn’t expect its project to replace various protection software, but it believes it could enhance them. According to Schluessle, the project would provide a back-up for the anti-virus software, which is usually the first target to be shutdown by malicious code.

Intel’s latest initiative was presented during an open house for journalists and analysts in Folsom, California. The project is scheduled to become part of Intel´s products around 2008 or 2009.

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