McAfee has launched a new product that is designed to provide active protection as a virus hits a computer.


Named Artemis Technology, it uses a new internet-based service hosted by McAfee Avert labs that provides protection ‘on the fly'. This software protects against attacks as they happen without requiring a traditional, scheduled update of threat signatures to be installed on the machine.


As malware detection has relied on databases in the past with threat signatures on the users' computer. This requires the databases on each computer to be updated with signatures for each new threat, which means that there is a delay when the threat is first identified to when protection is available at all computers.


Artemis provides a rapid reaction to threats, when a suspicious file is detected the Artemis connects to McAfee servers in real time to determine whether the file is malicious or not. This check happens in seconds without any material impact on the user's experience.


Charles Kolodgy, research director for IDC's Security Products service said: “The traditional signature-based approach to detecting malware is no longer enough. While user behaviour has changed and the threat landscape has evolved, malware detection technology generally hasn't kept pace. McAfee's program represents a major shift in how the massive increase in malware should be dealt with. This approach returns the innovation initiative to the defence, one-upping malware writers.”