Intel Accelerated Memory Scanning eases anti-virus CPU load


Contemporary anti-virus products don't have the same impact on system performance that they did back in the single-core days, but they can still eat a hefty chunk of CPU speed. A new technology from Intel called Accelerated Memory Scanning (AMS) could help with reducing scanning load on machines with Skylake-and-newer CPUs. The idea is that the machine can offload scanning and detection of memory-based malware to its integrated graphics processor. 

Intel says that in its testing, the new tech dropped scanning CPU utilization from 20% to 2% (though it wasn't specified under what conditions). A change like that will certainly free up some speed for whatever the user is doing, especially on dual-core CPUs. Intel remarks that AMS could reduce the impact of security software on a machine's battery life as well as its performance, or enable more frequent or intensive scanning.

Accelerated Memory Scanning is one half of what Intel is calling Threat Detection Technology. The other half is called Advanced Platform Telemetry (APT). It's not completely clear whether APT is a hardware or software solution—or some combination of both—but Intel says it "combines platform telemetry with machine learning algorithms to improve the detection of advanced threats." Intel says Cisco will be the first to deploy APT in its Tetration security platform.

Alongside the new Threat Detection Technologies, Intel is also launching what it calls Intel Security Essentials. The company calls this initative "a framework that standardizes the built-in security features across Intel processors." Going forward, Intel wants to establish a baseline for security features among all of its hardware to make it easier for developers to "build trusted applications in a consistent way." Previously, it wasn't necessarily clear which security features were supported on which platforms. That should no longer be the case going forward.

Obviously, the thing with the most direct impact for you and me will be Accelerated Memory Scanning. If you're keen to try it out, you won't have long to wait. Microsoft is integrating the tech into Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection later this month. If you use a different security package, don't fret: Intel says it's working with other companies so they can take advantage of the tech soon.

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