Chennai: Nowadays babies are given 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 vaccines. But if only there were a one-shot vaccine that would discriminate between good and bad virus/bacteria and kill the bad one the moment it enters the human body, life would be more peaceful. |
Even though human beings aren't fortunate enough to possess such an antidote, computers will now be, thanks to the Singapore based Indian promoted Rudra Technologies Pte Ltd. The company has come out with the world's first intention-based anti-virus solution Rudra.
As with human bodies, the entry of viruses into computer systems cannot be prevented in this Internet/email era. Rudra deletes the virus file if it finds one intending to lodge itself in the computer. Such viruses automatically go to the recycle bin. Even if the file is opened wantonly, or by mistake, the file is deleted without any damage to the computer or the data.
With respect to intentions, malware/virus files are posted on the Internet with varied ideas. While some may just put computers out of action, or corrupt the data stored in it, other virus files may demand a ransom - without kidnapping a person! The 'kidnap' occurs when the user finds that his own data is totally `encrypted' or locked and barred and he is denied access.
A virus file demanding ransom is sent via email. A pop up asks the computer owner to pay a certain sum to a particular bank account. Once that is done, the computer is freed.
Says Rudra Technologies managing director, N S Baskar, "While such ransom viruses may not be well known in India, it is prevalent in USA and other countries."
What makes Rudra anti-virus solution superior and different from other solutions in the market? "The existing solutions are signature (known entity) or heuristic based and need constant updation. They do not offer protection against unknown viruses till a new programme is written." Rudra, however, does not wait to identify the `name' of the malware but eliminates it before it enters, without damaging good files. One may therefore say that current anti-virus solutions are more like vaccines that protect a human being against a known disease, but fail to protect a person against a new disease.
"The signature based technology is of 1990 vintage and the heuristic technology was released in 1998," he adds. Signature-based technologies work by identifying the binary string that is unique to each virus. This is effective only against known viruses or after a new virus has been founded, researched and its string identified.
Though heuristic technology addresses the flaws of signature based technology as it is based on understanding the behaviour or modus operandi of the viruses. "However, this technology is also ineffective in challenging new viruses and sometimes good files are mistakenly interpreted to be virus-ridden.' Anti virus software has to be proactive and not reactive," remarks Baskar.
At the time of loading Rudra, it takes a snapshot of the system in a malware free state. Subsequently after the software is installed, the computer is under supervision even for minor deviations. All changes in the configuration, new files, changes in system control files area all evaluated by Rudra. "Any malware/virus that gets into the computer is killed in the RAM and subsequently deleted from the hard disk."
What is more interesting is that the $40 anti-virus solution needs no upgrades. You load it and then forget it. Is not Rudra Technologies deleting its own revenue source?
Baskar answers, "Yes. But I feel charging for updates are ethically wrong. We will come out with newer versions with newer features. The basic feature will remain the same for ever."
For Rudra Technologies the avenues are many. Now targeting only the personal computer (PC) segment, the company would eventually expand its focus to all the handheld devices-mobile phones, PDAs- and also the server industry.
According to director, marketing, Vincent Paul, the company's primary focus is computer manufacturers as they could bundle the software along with their machines. He hopes to tie up with 66 original equipment manufacturers (OEM) this fiscal.
In India, Rudra Technologies is talking with the country's largest computer manufacturer for bundling Rudra with the machine. The other distribution channels are Internet Service Providers (ISP), distributors and resellers.
Overseas the company has appointed marketing partners in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and other places. "We have a marketing partner for Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Maldives," Paul adds.
The company hopes to close this fiscal with a turnover of $8.4 million and projects a sale of $200 million for the financial year 2008. "Our Malaysian marketing company has guaranteed sales of $2 million." According to Baskar, the company will shortly finalise the Indian distributor.
As part of its marketing efforts, the company will hold live demos in Delhi, Mumbai, Europe and USA. "We will ask people to bring virus infected files and we will show how Rudra removes them from the computer," he says.
In a way, Baskar terms his anti-virus software as disruptive that