Prevx has launched what it claims is the first intrusion prevention system for consumers.
The software, called Prevx Home, is freely available from the company's Web site. Prevx claims it will offer multiple layers of protection against malicious hackers, viruses and spyware -- which all pose a growing risk to individuals who use the Internet. Prevx charges for its business-oriented product.
"Traditional AV and firewall systems are beginning to show their age when confronted with the new threats faced by Internet users," said Nick Ray, Prevx's chief executive.
"Prevx Home is the next generation of security software designed to protect against the next generation of threat. Internet worms, automated hacking tools and covert spyware are all very real threats for anyone on the Internet and, until now, it's been near impossible to protect against them."
Intrusion prevention systems (IPS) work by monitoring PC and network activity. When they detect threatening behaviour or activity that suggests a cyberattack is underway, the IPS steps in and tries to block the attack.
As well as stopping attempts to breach security from outside, an effective IPS should immediately detect if the user has inadvertently run any malicious code and prevent it from fully executing.
Because an IPS watches for suspicious behaviour and isn't based on signature files, it should be able to protect against "zero day" viruses -- malicious code that has just hit the Internet and hasn't yet been analysed and protected against by antivirus firms.
Until now, Prevx has only sold IPS products to businesses. These include client software that runs on each PC, and a central management console that monitors how the application is running and lets a system administrator set and change its settings. The Prevx Home is only the client-based component.
Security is a more important IT issue than ever before for home users. There is growing concern that millions of PCs have been 'zombified', and are being used to sent out spam or take part in distributed denial-of-service attacks.
A study issued this week by Webroot Software and ISP Earthlink found that around one in three PCs have been infected with spyware. The companies scanned around 1.5 million PCs, of which more than 500,000 were running system-monitoring software or Trojans.
Once detected, these programs can be deleted. According to a Prevx spokesman, Prevx Home will prevent sypware running in the first place.
Click here to download Prevx Home.