Novashield Receives National Science Foundation Grant For Breakthrough Malware Detection Technology
MADISON, Wis. – March 3, 2008
NovaShield, Inc., a leader in advanced anti-malware technology, today announced it has received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). This competitive Phase II grant for $500,000 will be used to continue commercialization of NovaShield’s breakthrough research targeted at detecting and preventing sophisticated zero day security threats including botnets, Trojans, keyloggers and rootkits. This award complements an earlier $150,000 Phase I SBIR grant awarded to NovaShield in January 2007 in support of its cutting-edge anti-malware technology research.
NSF grants awards annually to the nation’s most innovative and cutting-edge high-tech businesses through a limited number of competitive SBIR grants. Typically, fewer than five percent of applicants are awarded the Phase II SBIR grant each year. NovaShield was selected for its unique best-in-class approach to malware detection.
“Our support from the NSF demonstrates the need for innovation and ground-breaking research in the area of PC security. We look forward to helping people protect their PCs from the most sophisticated emerging security threats,” said Dr. Somesh Jha who is co-founder and chief scientist at NovaShield. Dr Jha is also an associate professor of computer science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he is a leading researcher in computer security. “Our approach represents a new third generation of anti-malware technologies that detect and block botnets. In addition, the NovaShield approach is more efficient, accurate, and comprehensive at identifying zero day threats.”
The Internet is now a major source of infection for PC users. In 2005, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began "Operation Bot Roast" to investigate hackers who commit crimes through computer robot networks called "botnets". The FBI recently reported that over 2.5 million computers have been hijacked in the last two years resulting in more than $20 million in losses and theft. Google’s Anti-Malware Team reported in January 2008 that one in every 1,000 pages of the World Wide Web contains malicious drive-by-downloads that attempt to exploit browsing visitors by installing and running malware automatically.
Current products leave PC users susceptible to previously unseen threats lurking on the Internet. Traditional signature-based detection solutions rely upon detecting known malware that must attack a computer before that particular strain of threat can be added to a database of known signatures.
The NovaShield Approach
NovaShield’s breakthrough technology, called specification-based monitoring, is based on research from a leading group of scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This technology extends behavior-based malware detection by using a formal approach based on policy specification to generalize and identify malicious activities in real-time. Specification-based monitoring leverages a tiered architecture to simplify the malware identification process by a factor of ten while maintaining a better rate of detection and fewer false positives than current commercially available anomaly-based approaches to behavior-based detection.
“There has been a shift in the types of emerging zero day malware threats that can result in identity theft, computer crashes, and drive-by-downloads for unsuspecting PC users,” said John Mitchell, professor of computer science at Stanford University and co-director of Stanford Computer Security lab. Dr. Mitchell is also on the board of technical advisors at NovaShield. “Current technologies are slow to adapt, making it hard to catch newer threats and malware variants. NovaShield’s advanced and powerful specification framework, and the founding team’s experience with developing efficient algorithms for building effective specifications give the company a competitive advantage at a time when computer users need first-rate protection.”
NovaShield Inc. (www.NovaShield.com), founded by leading scientists at the University of Wisconsin, develops technology to detect and eliminate the next generation of malware threats on personal computers. Their breakthrough approach rapidly identifies previously unseen malware by using specification-based monitoring, a real time and uniquely effective approach for detecting looming threats. The NovaShield team has developed the most advanced and accurate anti-malware product available to consumers and businesses with the best-in-class ability to find new threats such as drive-by-downloads, trojans, botnets, keyloggers, and rootkits. Funded by two competitive grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and private investors, NovaShield is based in Madison, Wisconsin.
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