UPDATE – 19 April, 1130am: This story has been updated with additional clarifications from Intel.
ORIGINAL STORY – 17 Apr, 1107am:
Intel has made several security-related announcements at the RSA Conference 2018 in San Francisco today. All of them are related are focused on the enterprise segment and IT ecosystem but there is one particular announcement that still managed to caught our attention: a new feature called Advanced Memory Scanning (AMS).
AMS is part of Intel Threat Detection Technology (TDT) which is the company’s effort to enhance security on their product right on the silicon level. What made AMS rather interesting though is that it is designed to address the issue of choosing security over performance and vice versa.
This is done by offloading memory scanning by CPU to integrated graphics processor (IGP) which apparently not only reduces CPU utilization but also chip’s power consumption as well. According to Intel, tests showed that AMS managed to lower down CPU utilization from 20% to 2% in addition to a reduction of SoC power consumption of up to 52%.
In theory, this means that memory scanning which is apparently one of the most common method used to detect malware can be done more frequently without having performance trade-off or increase in power usage. As for the implementation part, Intel has collaborated with Microsoft to integrate AMS into Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) within this month.
While AMS will be able to support the 6th, 7th, and 8th Gen Core processors, Intel didn’t clarify the exact IGP that can be supported by the feature. At the same time, the implementation is not yet available for consumers for the time being as ATP is meant only for the enterprise segement.
We have reached out to Intel for further clarification, so stay tuned.
UPDATE – 19 April, 1130am:
According to the reply that we’ve received from Intel, AMS is supported by all Intel integrated graphics within the 6th, 7th, and 8th Gen Core family of processors. The only exception to this is the AMD Radeon RX Vega M which comes with the 8th Gen Intel Core G-series processor.
The feature is also supported on laptops and desktop systems running on Windows 10. However, AMS capability is indeed limited only to Windows Defender ATP for the time-being which is an enterprise-grade product.