Beyond Windows XP EOL in April 2014

Beyond Windows XP EOL in April 2014
Beyond Windows XP EOL in April 2014
Securing Windows XP and Protecting from
Unknown Malware
Considerations for securing Windows XP
Executive Summary3
Existing Security Measures4
Microsoft Windows XP End of Life5
The Growing Market in Computer Crime
The Vulnerable Network6
Cyber Threats: Malware Tools of the Trade7
Key Loggers7
Peer-to-Peer and Bit Torrent clients8
Acceptable use, user behavior, and disgruntled employee
Reactive Protection and Its Failings10
Locking Down Systems10
Best Practice: Beyond Reactive Protection11
Trusted Ownership Checking11
Whitelists, Blacklists, and Digital Signature Checking
Protecting the Registry from Unknown Malware exploitation
Flexible Application and Device Lockdown13
Local Administrator Accounts and Privilege Management
Application Network Access Control13
Security Checklist14
Mitigate Risk14
Leverage Existing Security Investments14
View and Audit All Potentially Malicious Activity
Reduce IT Management Costs14
Enable Compliance14
Prepare for Windows XP EOL with AppSense
Protect Once, Protect Forever15
The Technology16
Considerations for securing Windows XP
Executive Summary
This guide provides helpful information to IT and business managers about the requirement
for proactive desktop security and protection beyond the end of life (EOL) for Microsoft
Windows XP in April 2014.
The threat from malware is real, growing, and expected to explode. Experts fear thousands
of unknown vulnerabilities in Windows XP still await exploitation when Microsoft stops
providing security fixes and service packs as part of Windows XP EOL. In this whitepaper,
we will examine how and why this threat has changed and will continue to evolve, as well as
how malware writers are fighting back against antivirus software.
We will provide some best practice guidelines to enterprises and government organizations
looking for ways to stop the continuing infiltration of systems after Windows XP EOL.
Further, we will acknowledge the necessary balance between increasing security, reducing
IT administration overhead, and increasing employee productivity.
In addition, we’ll explore how AppSense can help you stop malware and protect your
antivirus client, while ensuring the integrity of your workstations and notebooks. AppSense
solutions add value to any version of Windows and can be used to aid migrations to
Windows 7 and 8.
nWindows XP will become a soft target to exploit when security patches cease to be issued by Microsoft
XP still has many known vulnerabilities and possibly even more unknown
nSpeculation exists whether “black hat” attackers are holding back exploit code for unpublished vulnerabilities to release once EOL occurs
maintaining up-to-date antivirus on Windows XP will not suffice
exploitable vulnerabilities still being found
nIn the first quarter of calendar year 2013, published 28 network exploitable vulnerabilities affecting Windows XP
administrator accounts leave Windows XP desktops open to exploitation
Considerations for securing Windows XP
Malware poses
significant financial,
legal and resource
risk to an enterprise.
Brand equity is also
at risk through the
loss of internal and
customer data.
Since the late 1990’s, malicious computer
and network attacks have become
increasingly stealthy. No longer are most
attacks designed to create visible effects,
such as denial-of-service or blue screen
a desktop. Instead, today’s threats are
silent, and quite often employ many
interconnected machines - or bots - to
conduct their operations. Thousands of
bot networks (botnets) have appeared,
creating a dark dimension to the Internet.
A dimension that operates silently, may
already include your organization’s devices,
and could grow exponentially come April
2014. And you may not even know it’s
Existing Security Measures
Multi-layered IT security has increased
the time and complexity of administration
beyond where IT managers would like it to
be; yet network and system vulnerabilities
continue to be exploited at an ever
increasing rate.
Despite continuing enhancements in
perimeter security and antivirus solutions,
malicious software (malware) presents
an ever increasing threat to the stability
and security of enterprise systems and
their data. As far back as 2007, Symantec
Antivirus had definitions for over one
million viruses1. Since then, hundreds of
thousands of new viruses and a large
number of variants for existing viruses have
been unleashed on the Internet, making a
definition-based approach a highly reactive
counter measure to identifying malware
running on an endpoint device.
Unfortunately, many security measures can
be bypassed by user actions, especially
users who have been provided local
administrator privileges on their Windows
desktop, whereby they, or malware can
easily access and manipulate security
Considerations for securing Windows XP
Microsoft Windows XP End of Life
As a mobile workforce and widespread use of the Internet and e-mail make the network
perimeter less relevant, the securing of endpoints (desktops, laptops and virtual desktops)
across the enterprise becomes more vital. Stopping unknown sources of attack from within
and outside the organization is the next battlefield for IT security.
Organizations still using Windows XP beyond its EOL need to protect against the next wave
of unknown malware aimed at exploiting vulnerabilities that will not be fixed no matter how
severe. (Nimda, Code Red). Most likely with XP EOL looming, the more organized and wellfunded teams of malware writers have already started creating code targeted at individual
corporations and even individual users. For businesses that choose to stay on Windows XP
beyond April 2014 without a support agreement risk increases significantly.
According to NIST.gov1 , between January 2013 and March 31st, 2013, Microsoft released
34 high severity updates for Windows XP. Of these, 28 were exploitable via the network.
Some of these vulnerabilities could be exploited even when up-to-date antivirus is in place.
Antivirus is intended as a last line of defense - to detect and clean up the mess once
malware has been executed and delivered its payload. Even then, many areas are outside
its scope of control or ability to respond in a timely manner. A recent New York Times article
shares that “…By the time [antivirus] products are able to block new viruses, it is often too
late. The bad guys have already had their fun, siphoning out a company’s trade secrets...”
(Perlroth, 2012)2 .
Windows XP is fundamentally less secure that its successors. A Microsoft report (Microsoft,
2012)3 notes that malware infection rates of Windows XP are double that of Windows 7.
Many industry watchers believe that cybercriminals may even step up their rates of attack
(Sheldon, 2012)4 as EOL approaches and that “black hat” attackers may hold back exploit
code for release after April 2014. The moment support patches stop for Windows XP on April
8th, 2014 a major layer of defense for the operating system disappears.
Moreover, when Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP, many applications vendors will
follow suit, discontinuing support and patch security for their Windows XP applications and
choosing instead to allocate resources Windows 7 and 8 applications., Advanced search for Windows XP vulnerabilities. Web, searched April 1st 2013
Perlroth, Nicole, “Outmaneuvered at Their Own Game, Antivirus Makers Struggle to Adapt”, New York Times. Web
December 31st 2012.
Microsoft, “Microsoft Security Intelligence Report Volume 13 English”, Microsoft, Web (PDF), November 8th 2012.
Sheldon, Robert, “Windows XP End of Support: What are the risks for users?”, TechTarget, Web, November 2012
Considerations for securing Windows XP
The Growing Market in Computer Crime
Roughly 10 million
Americans have their
personal information
misused in some way
every year, costing
consumers $5 billion
and businesses $48
billion annually.
The Federal Trade Commission estimates that roughly 10 million Americans have their
personal information pilfered and misused every year, costing consumers $5 billion and
businesses $48 billion annually. The introduction of vast profits in this area has spawned a
growing black market. Hackers and malware writers offer their services to order. Stolen data
auctions move gigabytes of proprietary information. Whole botnets can be hired for specific
purposes, such as massive spam email campaigns and denial-of-service attacks against
e-commerce websites.
As this form of crime drives the exploitation of users and machines, its extreme profitability
has attracted the attention of organized crime. The power and resources it can apply to
computer crime means that the tools employed are sophisticated - professionally produced
and controlled.
Specialists tout their skills on unadvertised websites and forums, while loose teams of cyber
criminals under the control of highly organized crime syndicates deliver malware in the form
of viruses, Trojans, keyloggers, and botnets. Although these don’t always rely on a system
vulnerability to gain access, many do. What we are seeing is the development of a
cybercrime business model. Without regular patches, Windows XP is a soft target in the
digital war between IT departments and organized crime.
The Vulnerable Network
The ongoing evolution of cyber security threats has led many organizations to adopt a layered
security architecture with different solutions protecting each level of the enterprise. This is
‘defense in depth’ strategy has significantly increased the overall complexity of IT security.
When an infiltration occurs, this complexity increases the time taken to discover it and
respond adequately. Often, each solution requires a different management interface to
control, monitor and update.
Some of the main examples of network entry points are:
websites that exploit vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer
encrypted content cannot be screened on the network perimeter
written e-mails inviting users to open an attachment
Administrator user accounts providing easy, elevated access for Malware
Instant Messaging
clients trading illegal, copyrighted material
Media such as CDs/DVDs and USB drives
screen savers and utilities that often contain Trojans
and audio file downloads
Considerations for securing Windows XP
Cyber Threats: Malware tools
of the Trade
Trojans, keyloggers, and rootkits are
common forms of malware that intrusion
prevention systems are designed to detect
and block or disable. An ongoing challenge
for IT is keeping these systems up to date
since they generally rely on signatures
or behavioral rules. Antivirus products,
for example, use a signature database
to identify threats. Even a firewall rules
database may need to be altered to close a
certain communications port and, of course,
Windows needs to be patched regularly to
remove vulnerabilities.
A Trojan is a mechanism for distributing
malicious code that tricks users into
executing it by disguising the code as
something useful such as a patch, a game,
interesting video file, or important message.
The most notable example of this was
the Sober e-mail worm. At the height of
the Sober outbreak in December 2005, it
accounted for 1 in 12 e-mails. The body of
the e-mail contained an apparent warning
from the FBI or National High Tech Crime
Unit that the recipient had been detected
visiting websites containing illegal material.
The victim was then directed to complete
a form attached to the e-mail that infected
them with Sober.
Trojans continue to be one of the most
common methods of propagating malware
because the desktop user remains one
of the least protected elements in the IT
environment, especially users with local
administrator privileges.
Many forms of malware contain keyloggers
that steal information from machines
they infect. In February 2006, Brazilian
police arrested 85 people for seeding the
computers of unwitting Brazilians with
keyloggers that recorded their keystrokes
whenever they visited their banks online.
Using stolen user names and passwords,
the fraud ring diverted approximately $4.7
million from 200 accounts at six banks. It is
likely that the use of this form of malware
will increase in the future as cybercriminals
expand their trade in stolen information to
industrial espionage.
A rootkit hides the existence of certain
processes or programs from normal
methods of detection and enables
continued privileged access to a computer.
The term originally referred to a maliciously
modified set of administrative tools for a
Unix-like operating system that granted
“root” access. It has come to be applied
to any technique or code used to conceal
activity or objects in a system.
The shift in the purpose of malware has
meant that it is increasingly important
for an infection to remain undetected as
it allows the continued theft of data and
the illicit usage of the victim’s bandwidth
for purposes such as spam relaying. This
has led to an increase in the use of rootkit
functionality and a growth in its capability.
There are two forms of rootkits used in
Windows environments: user level and
kernel level.
A user-level rootkit works intercepts and
subverts calls made to various application
programming interfaces (APIs), which
request services from the operating system.
Simple ones might intercept requests
being made by file system utilities, such as
Explorer and command prompt, and modify
the data returned. Any scanning tools that
also use these APIs will be incapable of
detecting this. More sophisticated versions
work at lower levels, subverting requests
made by user mode elements prior to being
forwarded to the kernel mode elements of
Windows. In this situation, no scanning tools
that work in user mode would be able to
detect the interference.
Kernel-level rootkits are even more powerful.
They work by intercepting the API calls
made between the Windows kernel and the
low-level operating system components it
This can result in the kernel being incapable
of fully enumerating the contents of its local
storage, for example whether its request
for the contents of sectors of the local disk
is altered prior to being returned. In this
situation, virtually all tools used to check
for malware infection would be incapable of
discovering it.
There are various websites and other
places on the Internet that offer malware
developers with code that will provide their
tools with the functionality of both forms of
rootkit. The use of this technology is certain
to increase as malware writers look to
maximize profits from selling vulnerabilities
and exploits after Windows XP EOL.
Considerations for securing Windows XP
Today it’s not just
music, but entire
movies and DVD’s
which are being
shared, and of
course, malware.
Peer-to-Peer and Bit Torrent clients
In 1999, a young man named Shawn Fanning stayed awake for 60 hours to write a small
piece of software called Napster. It allowed people to easily locate and copy music files
from other peoples’ computers using the Internet. Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing was born.
Today, Napster is gone, but file sharing is not. In addition to music, entire movies and DVDs
are shared, and, of course, malware. Malware is often embedded into the files downloaded
by the naïve user who is expecting nothing more than an album, film, or game. Unfortunately
for enterprise security, this could load malware directly onto an endpoint. Peer-to-peer file
sharers also consume massive amounts of bandwidth, which reduces network performance
everyone. Services and systems that rely on bandwidth can slow to a crawl or fail.
Clearly Internet usage needs to be effectively controlled and, while educating employees is
important and necessary, it’s never enough. Companies must ask themselves two questions:
users able to install Peer-to-Peer and Bit Torrent clients?
Unfortunately, many Windows XP users have local administrator privileges and as such have the capability to install and execute new software, in this case peer-to-peer and Bit Torrent clients. Therefore many Windows XP users may already have file sharing technologies installed on their endpoint device and possibly a large number of other non-work related applications, which provide additional routes for malware to access a Windows XP machine.
nCan they identify, quarantine, and remove any infected file downloaded before it can execute its payload?
Educating employees is one approach, but it’s not going to work for some individuals. Why not stop them from installing peer-to-peer applications in the first place? Unfortunately many Windows XP users have Local Administrator privileges and as such have the capability to install and execute new software, in this case Peer-to-Peer and Bit Torrent clients.
Therefore many Windows XP users will already have file sharing technologies installed on
their endpoint device, perhaps with a large number of other non-work related user
introduced applications. These applications will provide additional routes for Malware to
continue to access a Windows XP machine and exploit vulnerabilities which are no longer
being addressed.
Considerations for securing Windows XP
CIOs and CSOs rank
employees second
only to hackers as the
source of malicious
attacks.5 The Global
State of Information
Security® Survey 2014
PwC, CIO magazine,
and CSO magazine.
“I see the insider
threat looming larger
in my windshield than
in the past. And it’s
important to note
that insider threats
are not necessarily
a ‘bad guy’ with bad
intentions; it could
be a good employee
doing righteous work
in an insecure manner.
Our problems are
more human than
Acceptable use, user behavior and disgruntled
As stated, users are one of the most vulnerable parts of any computer system. Their desire
to boast, assist other people, curiosity about what they see and read, and their susceptibility
to suggestions make them easy targets. Even if users are cautious and only open e-mails
from trusted sources or browse reliable websites, they can still become the victims of
While indispensable for knowledge workers, Internet and e-mail use in the workplace pose
significant risks to corporations, especially when acceptable use policies (AUPs) are ignored.
For example, nearly all workers install instant messaging clients on their machines. Many
download music or videos and access non work-related websites during working hours.
So if AUPs are not enforced, users can knowingly or unknowingly install software or launch
executables that have the potential to cause enormous damage. The EOL of Windows XP
simply makes these potential breaches much more likely. Likewise, the ability for unhappy
employees to compromise systems and data from within an organization should never be
The case of AOL employee Jason Smathers is a disturbing example of the damage a
disgruntled employee can cause. After being disciplined, Smathers stole 92 million e-mail
addresses and sold them to an email spammer, who used them and resold them. This one
theft ultimately generated several billion spam e-mails. Smathers was jailed in 2005.
- Michael A. Mason, Chief Security Officer
for Verizon Communications
Global Statement of Information Security: CIO and PWC
Considerations for securing Windows XP
Reactive Protection and Its Failings
Most security experts agree that it’s sensible to use multiple layers of protection against
security threats. But this leads to the management complexity we’ve already discussed,
which also includes the time and expense for training and accreditation in product use.
What’s more, reactive solutions only protect against what is known. But most new malware
is unknown code. For example, antivirus protection. A threat has to be observed and studied
before a signature can be released for it. In addition, sophisticated malware can pass
through antivirus cleaning. Beyond antivirus, commonly used reactive enterprise security
measures include:
By definition, reactive protection cannot prevent zero-day attacks because they exploit
previously unknown vulnerabilities. And no matter how fast technology vendors respond, it’s
never fast enough if your organization is under attack. This ‘window of vulnerability’ is what
keeps CTOs up at night.
# of systems infected
Window of Vulnerability:
Cost to your organization
& Updated
Update Installation
Tested of Update
Locking Down Systems
There are various measures intended to
protect vulnerable users and endpoint
machines. For a long time, perimeter
security provided this protection. Over time,
attackers have become adept at penetrating
the perimeter and targeting attacks
directly at users and their applications.
Mobile computing has exacerbated this. A
corporate firewall can’t protect laptop users
when they’re mobile.
The response from the security industry has
been to lock down user machines to limit
and mitigate the risks posed by application
and user-level attacks. This has proven to
be problematic, even after the introduction
of tools such as group policy. Gartner
Group estimates that while more than 60
percent of organizations want to enforce
desktop lockdown, 20 percent of enterprise
desktops and fewer than five percent of
laptops are locked down today6 .
Among the reasons for this low rate are
concerns about usability. There are many
scenarios where users require local
administrative rights to work effectively.
Many applications allow changes to
hardware settings or network adapters
and all of which require administrative
privileges to execute. This also includes
web application updates, the installation
of Active-X components, Adobe, Flash,
and Java updates, printer drivers. Yet
administrative access leaves the desktop
vulnerable to malware.
When Microsoft officially enforces Windows XP EOL in April 2014, a window of vulnerability will
stay open indefinitely.
Gartner Report: Windows Application Control (G00137032)
Considerations for securing Windows XP
Best Practices: Beyond Reactive Protection
It’s clear that enterprises and government organizations need to reimagine their security
environments in a broader context and balance those priorities with more efficient IT
management. For the purpose of establishing best practice guidelines, it is useful to look at
three categories of application-level change: known bad, known good, and unknown.
User Installed
Business Consumer
Trusted Ownership
Personalization; User settings,
profiles, scripts, policies
IT Delivered
User Apps
IT >> User
Packaging (MSI/Application
Business Unit >> IT
Master / Golden image
Business >> IT >> Users
‘Baked’ in the OS
Desktop image
Pro Active
Anti Virus, Blacklist
Anti Spyware, Firewall
Application types
Pro Active
Control and Protection
Securing applications from malicious activity has predominantly concentrated on the known
bad. With that in mind, the following section summarizes proactive security best practices.
Trusted Ownership Checking
Trusted ownership checking automatically protects systems without complex configuration
and constant management. It can block unknown spyware, malicious mobile code and other
web-based threats, including executable viruses, Trojans, worms, keyloggers, script attacks,
and rogue Internet code.
Trusted ownership checking provides enterprise-wide protection inside and outside the
corporate network, adding a valuable layer of security for a mobile workforce. It prevents
100 percent of user-introduced, unauthorized applications, preserves the integrity of
gold-build images, and increases user productivity by refocusing resources on business
It examines the NTFS owner of an application prior to execution. If the application is from a
‘trusted owner,’ anyone is allowed to execute the application. If not, no one may execute the
A predetermined list of trusted owners quickly determines which applications are unwanted.
By default, only domain administrators are trusted, which ensures only applications installed
by IT are allowed to run. A trusted owner list can be extended as required.
Considerations for securing Windows XP
Whitelists, Blacklists, and Digital Signature Checking
Whitelists guarantee only known and trusted applications can execute on a system, which
means they block the unknown; blacklists protect only against known threats and problem
Digital signature (electronic fingerprint) checking ensures that applications and files
installed on a system remain unaltered, preserving system integrity and lowering
maintenance costs. Digital signatures are the ultimate identify check for an individual file. If
one bit of a file is changed, the digital signature also changes.
For advanced security, this method assigns SHA-1 digital signatures to applications
and files and checks them against black or whitelists. Modified or spoofed applications
are prevented from executing. However, digital signatures can bring high management
overhead as new signatures need to be taken each time a file is updated by means of a
service pack or patch.
Even though trusted ownership checking will prevent the execution of unknown applications,
scripts or malware, self-healing technology can correct unauthorized changes to retain
a systems desired state. Automated monitoring and self-healing systems can increase
security, lower costs, reduce complexity and take much of the manual labor out of
managing IT systems - minimizing the business impact of security or system failures.
Self-healing technology automatically protects and repairs essential elements of the system
and users’ environment. For instance, if a user deletes important configuration settings in
the system registry or removes vital files, this can be automatically corrected. The ability to
ensure that computer and user settings are restored to their original state in the event of a
system failure or unauthorized changes is a major advantage in today’s hostile environment.
A wide range of items, from processes and services, to files and registry, can be self-healed.
Protecting the Registry from Unknown Malware exploitation
Key areas of the registry, such as the list of programs set to run at user logon, can be set
to always be in a known good state. If any malware does configure itself to launch at logon,
this self-healing functionality will have removed the call to execute at logon - even though
trusted ownership checking will have prevented the execution of the file itself. Similarly,
there is also a list of per-user processes configured for launch within the user’s profile that
can be hijacked by malware and this can be protected with self-healing.
Self-healing can be used to guarantee that critical applications, such as security software,
always run, providing additional protection against the threat of Trojans, worms, and
spyware. If users had the ability to disable their anti-virus programs (a common practice for
users who have heard that anti-virus degrades performance), their entire desktop session
will be unprotected until they logoff and back on again. Self-healing can be used to ensure
that if these processes terminate for any reason, they are immediately launch again.
Considerations for securing Windows XP
The perfect balance
between user
productivity, security
and lower desktop
TCO is to control
user privilege at
an application or
individual task level.
Flexible Application and Device Lockdown
Administrators are looking to strip out unwanted functionality from third-party software
either for security reasons (i.e. protection of confidential data and removal of potential
security loopholes) or to reduce the level of complexity for the end user. Lockdown actions
can be used to hide or disable user interface controls and block keyboard shortcuts for all,
or specific applications. Behavioral containment of this kind can also extend to all modes of
removable media, including USB drives to limit the threat of infection and confidential data
Local Administrator Accounts and Privilege Management
Improper privilege management control creates undue business risk and significantly adds
to support costs. Giving users administrative privileges also creates legal and liability issues
and makes compliance with guidelines such as Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, COSO and FERPA
difficult to accomplish.
The perfect balance between user productivity, security and lower desktop TCO is to control
user privilege at an application or individual task level. By making sure users have only
elevated privileges for the applications, processes, or tasks that need them, enterprise TCO
falls and managing end points becomes easier with fewer support calls. Users can still do
everything they need without introducing security vulnerabilities.
Application Network Access Control
Application network access control (ANAC) intercepts and blocks requests made to
prohibited network resources and controls outbound network connections by IP, host name,
URL, UNC, or port based on the outcome of rules processing. It prevents user or malware
from accessing network resources by controlling network access without complex controls
such as routers, switches, and firewalls.
Process rules enable outbound network access to be determined by the specific process, i.e.
different applications can have different restrictions. Process rules allow IT to determine what
processes (children) can be run by the application (parent). This can prevent malware from
accessing the corporate network from an infected machine.
Considerations for securing Windows XP
Security checklist
When looking to source new security solutions, ensure they can deliver the following
Mitigate risk
Stop all unauthorized applications through proactive protection resulting in more robust
security policy enforcement and less reliance on vulnerable and reactive security systems.
Eliminate local administrator accounts and utilize a privilege management solution to
increase security and reduce risk.
Leverage Existing Security Investments
Add to any existing security systems in a way that helps them maintain their integrity
through automatic self-healing to ensure that they are always operational.
View and Audit All Potentially Malicious Activity
Get a true picture of what is really going on at the application level of all endpoints, with
instant alerts to inform of any attempted breach. Audit and report at a granular level.
Reduce IT Management Costs
Reduce reliance on roaming profiles, patching, and system updates via self-healing, and
application and system hardening - decreasing administrative tasks and lowering support
Enable Compliance
Increase visibility into endpoint behavior with report and auditing capabilities that enable
Considerations for securing Windows XP
Stop zero-day attacks.
Stop patching chaos;
well, there won’t be
any patches available...
...With one, easy,
proven solution
Prepare for Windows XP EOL with AppSense
Protect Once, Protect
It’s also common for users to introduce unwanted applications like games or peer-to-peer
utilities, which often contain spyware to harvest e-mail addresses and other information.
The AppSense trusted ownership mechanism stops these applications from running,
preventing data loss.
AppSense is licensed on a per-user
basis, which means when you’re
ready to migrate to Windows 7 or 8,
the technology can be used again to
continue protecting your users, their
desktops, and your data, increasing
return on investment.
AppSense has helped, and continues
to help, many organizations migrate
to Windows 7 - significantly reduce
the cost, time and complexity of the
To learn more about how we can
help your organization migrate
to Windows 7 or 8, please visit
AppSense desktop security solutions provide centrally deployed, enterprise-class protection
Windows endpoints that stops all unknown and unauthorized executables. Unknown threats
cease to be a problem, and so does your lack of Windows XP updates, patches, and
For example, many viruses are e-mailed to users using attachments. If they receive an
e-mail with a virus attached and they click on the attachment, AppSense prevents it from
executing. There is no need to worry about what the virus is; no need to identify it and
wait for a signature to be produced. Whether it’s well known or the latest, newly released
malware, it‘s stopped.
AppSense is true protection from the unknown, including zero-day threats. More effective
than an intrusion detection system, it stops intruders in their tracks. Hacking tools don’t
run. Trojans don’t give unauthorized backdoor access. And spyware cannot send out your
business critical information. It also stops executable viruses from inflicting any damage
and infecting other systems, while anti-virus vendors catch up with its specialized detection
AppSense provides security professionals with a whole new range of tools and options they
can use to ensure system integrity and secure vulnerable endpoints. It augments firewalls,
intrusion detection systems, and anti-virus clients as it helps IT administrators:
systems in desired state
security risk
IT management complexity
desktop TCO
Considerations for securing Windows XP
The Technology
The AppSense approach, which has been designed to meet public sector and intelligence
agency standards, is a revelation for anyone who has had to spend weeks configuring
options on a new solution. It requires virtually no configuration; protection is nearly
AppSense comes with its own centralized deployment technology that can work
independently or as part of an Active Directory implementation. This effectively eliminates
the need to visit individual computers. Once in place, AppSense logging and reporting is
centralized so administrators have a clear picture of user activity.
After the AppSense agent is installed, its kernel-level driver intercepts all requests to
execute files and prevents unauthorized applications from starting via AppSense trusted
ownership checking. If the NTFS owner of an application is not a trusted owner, the
application is unauthorized and it’s execution prevented.
If more granularity is required for specific applications or users, AppSense Application
Manager can allow or block applications based on rules you define. This can be done by
placing either the executable’s location or its digital signature into a whitelist or blacklist.
These additional rules can be applied to individual users, specific machines, or to groups
extracted from Active Directory.
If you’re unsure whether you have a problem or are concerned about the effect of blocking
unauthorized executables, AppSense offers the unique ability to passively monitor the files
users execute without alerting them. It creates an audit trail of all applications you haven’t
authorized and gives you true visibility into what is happening, without impacting business
To learn more about AppSense, call us at 866. 277 7367, email
[email protected], or visit us on the web at
Considerations for securing Windows XP
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264 George St,
Sydney, NSW
T +61 (0) 2 9258 1862
[email protected]
AppSense France
17 Square Edouard VII,
75009 Paris
T + 33 01 53 43 5148
[email protected]
AppSense GmbH
Werner-von Siemens Ring 17
85630 Grasbrunn/München
T +49 89 559 9970
[email protected]
AppSense Benelux Ltd
Entrada 501
1096 EH Amsterdam
The Netherlands
T +31 20 3701282
[email protected]
Nordic region
AppSense AS
Tærudgata 1
2004 Lillestrøm
T +47 41 43 23 30
[email protected]
© 2013, AppSense Limited. AppSense is a registered trademark of AppSense
Limited in the US, UK and other countries worldwide. All rights reserved. All other
trademarks are the property of their respective owners. The information in this
document is believed to be correct at time of printing but no representation or
warranty is made as to its accuracy or completeness.
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