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Check Point Releases First Virtualized Browser Protection

ZoneAlarm ForceField, Check Point's virtualized browser solution, is geared toward the consumer and SMB space but the company plans to launch an enterprise version sometime down the road, execs say.

Check Point executives say that the new browser protection solution addresses the growing security threats delivered via the Web, including browser exploits and drive-by downloads, which users can unknowingly acquire by visiting an infected Website.

"Traditional security suites protect the PC and the operating system, which is what most malware targets," said Laura Yecies, vice president and general manager of Check Point's ZoneAlarm consumer division. "Now the threats are coming mostly through the Web and through browsers. We believe a whole new approach is needed."

That new approach is one that secures the Web session itself. Yecies said that solution is implemented in several layers. The first layer incorporates what execs term as a virtualized "bubble of security" providing protection specific to the browser, in order to prevent drive-by downloads, unwanted malware and other Web threats.

The virtualized layer also extends to legitimate Websites that may have been compromised by malicious code. In addition, the virtualized technology protects the users' PCs from malware that might already exist on their system. The technology is made to a virtualized file system and disappears completely once the user has completed computer activities.

In addition to two-way virtualization, additional ForceField security layers include anti-phishing, based on active SSL signature and program advisor database scanning, and sypware site blocking. Security layers also include dangerous download protection and keylogger and screen grabber jamming, as well as temporary file encryption and memory scan, site rating and private browser mode.

In particular the solution speaks to the growing Web threat vector -- a threat which is created in the way Websites are built, Yecies said. Often attackers have access to a highly trafficked Website through ad servers, which have connections to exponentially more sites.

"It takes one of them to be compromised and your site will end up distributing malware to the user. So that's why there's no such thing as safe surfing," said Yecies.

Check Point execs maintained that the product is primarily geared toward the consumer and the SMB space, which requires comprehensive Web protection solutions for employees who routinely surf the Web. Geared for the SMB space, the solution provides a user-friendly, one-click installation on Windows XP and Vista platforms, execs say.

"Small businesses are always in the tough spot for computer security because they have as much to lose s a big company," said Yecies. "But if they have a breach they could lose their whole business. They don't have an IT department. Their need is as great as a big company but they don't have the resources."

The company released a beta version last September, working out glitches that didn't allow Firefox updates, as well as compatibility and other memory utilization issues.

Yecies said that the company plans to release an enterprise version of the product at an unspecified date.

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