SECURITY FIRM Malwarebytes has launched anti-exploit services to protect Windows users from hacking attacks on vulnerabilities in popular targets including Microsoft Office, Adobe software products and Java, a service which even offers protection for Windows XP users.
Consumer, Premium and Corporate versions of the service are available, and are designed to pre-emptively stop hackers from infecting Windows machines with malware.
"An exploit will typically first corrupt the memory of an application process, take control, then execute code," said Malwarebytes director of special projects Pedro Bustamante.
"From the shell code it executes a payload that tells the exploit what to do and that in turn usually downloads malware from the internet and executes it. The final stage is usually where antivirus kicks in, when it's being downloaded from the internet, and starts doing things like behavioural analysis to see if it's malicious.
"We don't care about that, what we do comes before then. We just look for exploit-like behaviour and block anything that looks like it at the shellcode or payload stages. We come into play before the malware even appears on the scene."
The Consumer version of the anti-exploit service is free and offers basic browser and Java protection.
The Premium version costs £19 per user and adds Office and Adobe protection services as well as the ability to add custom shields to other internet-facing applications, like Messenger or Netflix.
The Corporate version costs £23 person user and offers complete anti-exploit protection and comes with Malwarebytes' Anti-malware service and a toolkit for IT managers.
Bustamante explained that the technology is designed to help businesses and general web users defend against the new wave of exploit-based cyber attacks.
"Traditional security can't deal with exploits. Every day we see people getting infected, even if they have the latest up-to-date antivirus readers, because of exploits," he said. "This is why we care about the applications you run - Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Java, Acrobat [and Microsoft] Word, Excel [and] Powerpoint."
Bustamante added that the service is doubly important for Windows XP users since Microsoft officially ceased support for the OS in April.
"We're still seeing over 25 percent of our users running XP. For them this product is even more important," he said.
"We see new zero-days if not every week, every month, and for XP users who are not getting any more patches from Microsoft this product will be essential.
"Every month Microsoft will be releasing security patches for newer versions of Windows. Every time Microsoft does this it'll be a treasure map for hackers to find exploits on Windows XP.
"It'll show them exactly where the vulnerabilities are, so every month will see an influx of new exploits targeting Windows XP." µ