I have been in contact with the creator of the excellent DefenseWall HIPS application for some time now and he was so nice to give away ten copies of his software to Ghacks readers. Let me first explain what the software does. DefenseWall HIPS is a Host Intrusion Prevention System that uses sandboxing and virtualization to protect the computer from dangers that are not stopped by anti-virus applications.
All applications running on the system are divided into trusted and untrusted groups. Everything deemed untrustworthy is run in the virtual environment, this includes by default programs like Internet Explorer, Microsoft Outlook, Opera, Firefox, Safari and dozens more. The real beauty of the DefenseWall HIPS concept is that every process started by an untrusted application becomes untrusted as well.
This ensures a minimum amount of user interaction, i.e. popups that ask you if you want to trust the application or not. That's one of the main reasons that those programs are highly unpopular because in their drive to protect the system they lay the burden of decision on the user, and the user, as we all know, is most of the time the biggest security threat of them all..
What is DefenseWall Hips protecting you against ? Basically against everything that is initiated by untrusted applications. It protects against Registry modifications, rootkits, keyloggers, trojans, worms and everything else that would be considered malware.
A new virus for instance downloaded by Internet Explorer can do no harm to the system because it is running in a sandbox. It can actually be terminated with one click of the mouse in the DefenseWall Hips interface. Protection itself is, mostly, policy-based. Thus, DW protects only the sensitive places of the registry as well as file system.
The only responsibility of the user is to add additional applications to the list of untrusted programs which is especially important for applications that have net access. Even if you are using a limited user account instead of an admin account on your computer you will increase the protection of your system because several attack vectors are known to work on this kind of accounts as well.
Folders can also be added to the untrusted group which can be helpful in certain situations. I'm thinking of ftp servers for instance or networks with shared directories.
DefenseWall HIPS runs on all Microsoft operating systems starting with Windows 2000 including Windows XP and Vista. The homepage links to several reviews and comparisons with other HIPS applications, good read if you want to find out more about it first.
As I said earlier ten readers will win a copy of DefenseWall HIPS with one year of free updates and priority support. All you need to do is comment on this article and let me know what you think of this product. Just post your opinion. I will draw the ten lucky ones in 48 hours. I do need to contact you on your email because I need your real name for program registration along with the email.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.