I've seen the future, and it's antispyware. Well, I may have seen the future of PC security software, anyway.
I've just seen a demonstration of DriveSentry 3.0. DriveSentry prevents malware from writing to your PC's hard disk by asking you for permission. So far so irritating. But DriveSentry 3.0 claims to be the rapier to Windows Vista UAC's blunt object. Grrr, Vista User Access Control [shakes fist].
Where most security software works from a blacklist of malware, DriveSentry also has a whitelist of products approved by users who form part of the DriveSentry community. In theory this provides effective protection against zero-day exploits, as expert users quickly spot net nasties. Even better, as more users join up, it reduces to next to nothing the number of decisions less tech-savvy users have to make. It's a bit like the ultimate 'Ask the audience' on Millionaire. On the demonstration we saw, several newly mutated threats were disposed of, leaving only less than intrusive, gently fading pop-ups as their calling cards.
Previous versions of DriveSentry have been pitched as an addition to your existing security software, but the good people of DriveSentry believe that this version of their product on its own is good enough to protect your PC. Even in beta it's currently picking up malware signatures at a rate of 1,000 a day, and this will only go up as the product is rolled out.
And the traditional virus-detection, update process is beginning to look a little creaky. Zero-day exploits are a real threat, and DriveSentry claims its product spiked the recent Skype Worm.
Needless to say, there's a cost. About twenty quid a year after the first few months when version 3.0 launches later this year. But this is par for the course for security software. And despite having to take any product demonstration with a pinch of salt, I reckon DriveSentry deserves to succeed. Software products in general, and security apps in particular, are becoming increasingly rigid and bloated.
With a tiny download footprint and the support of a dynamic community, DriveSentry might be the future. We'll be reviewing the product here first, so watch this space.