ESET announces a set of security tools for ARM chips for Windows and Mac devices. The test is currently still in beta.
ESET, a world leader in cybersecurity, has once again expanded its product range. For the increasingly popular devices with ARM processors, ESET now offers customized variants of its existing solutions. The business solutions ESET Endpoint Security for Mac and the consumer products ESET Cybersecurity and ESET Cybersecurity Pro run on Apple devices with the M1 processor introduced in late 2020. These include the Mac mini M1, MacBook Air and Macbook Pro, as well as new Macs that were recently announced.
For Windows computers with ARM processors – such as the Microsoft Surface series – the security experts have already started a broad, public beta testing phase. Here the focus is on ESET Endpoint Antivirus and ESET Management Agent. The latter is used to manage the new solution variants with the ESET PROTECT management console. The ARM variants of the Windows solutions will be released in the autumn of 2021.
Strong demand for ARM and security
With the new products, ESET is responding to the increased demand from the business world. More and more business users have long enjoyed the benefits of devices equipped with ARM processors. They are powerful and energy-efficient and offer greater advantages than classic notebooks, especially in the mobile world. Microsoft Surface, HP Envy and the new Apple computers are among the best known in this sector. However, many administrators have a security problem with these devices. These usually have no or only built-in malware protection, but at the same time are part of the entire network.
Since Apple released its new products with the M1 processor, interest in ARM processors has grown exponentially, both in the corporate sector and among home users. The further development is really gaining momentum. The British chip developer ARM has already announced its intention to equip servers with these processors in addition to mobile devices. In addition to the above-mentioned advantages, the heat development with ARM processors is significantly lower than with other manufacturers. The cooling in data centers is a problem that requires a lot of effort and generates high electricity costs. Recently, NVIDIA announced its intention to be present in the ARM market as well.
Native ARM-malware in the wild
A month after Apple unveiled its devices with the new M1 chips – a proprietary adaptation of ARM – GoSearch22 emerged as the first example of platform-specific malicious code. About two months later, Silver Sparrow appeared, a newly discovered adware targeting Macs containing a malicious M1 binary file.
As for malware for Windows on ARM machines, malware authors are just as capable of running traditional x86 binaries through the emulation layer, as well as recompiling their malware for ARM32 or ARM64. Once the x64 emulation layer for Windows on ARM is publicly available, the entire spectrum of x64-based malware can take advantage of the new attack surface. While some x64 (and x86) malware binaries are hindered by emulation – or may not run at all – other malware, with only basic functionality, can be expected to run on the Windows ARM platform without any problems. The same is true for malicious scripts, provided a suitable script interpreter is available.
Of course, there are still malicious websites, spam, phishing scams and scammers who don’t care what operating systems or hardware platforms the potential victims use. As a result, Windows users on ARM64 devices should monitor security as closely as their favorite apps.
This article was written by one of our partners. Our editorial team is not responsible for the content.