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News  General
Qualcomm Antivrus in CPU

New Snapdragon CPU defends against malware

Qualcomm moved the anti-virus arms race into a different league when they recently announced they are building malware defenses right in the CPU.

The new technology is termed "Smart Protect" and is claimed to be able to utilize real-time machine learning to detect new malicious apps before their signatures have been incorporated into traditional AV software providers systems. Rather than relying on the usual lookup processes, the new system uses machine learning-based behavioral analysis.

Video shows the Zeroth on-device malware detection

The new SnapDragon 820 is aimed specifically at mobile devices:

The Snapdragon Smart Protect system enhances existing signature based anti-malware solutions by analyzing and identifying new threats prior to new signature updates. This means OEMs and mobile anti-malware application providers can also use the Snapdragon Smart Protect API’s to perform valuable causal analysis. This offers users and the mobile industry real-time information of identified threats.

"Close to the metal"

Qualcomm's technology isn't a fully-fledged anti-malware solution, but instead is something meant to be used by security software makers and manufacturers to strengthen their own products. Since it is hardware-based, this gives these vendors access to security from the deepest levels of the platform stack. In theory, this means that Smart Protect won't be as easy to bypass as purely software-based security solutions. 

The Snapdragon 820 is scheduled to ship later in 2014. The demo video shows Android handsets - is this a marriage made in heaven?