ESET Technology

Malware and antivirus software

ESET Technology

ESET’s unique technology.

Continually developing leading-edge protection.

Exploit Blocker

Exploit Blocker is designed to fortify often exploited application types on users’ systems, such as web browsers, PDF readers, email client or MS office components. It adds another layer of protection by using a completely different technology, compared to techniques focusing on detection of malicious files themselves...

Instead, it monitors behavior of processes and watches for suspicious activities that are typical for exploits. When triggered, the suspicious behavior is analyzed and the threat might be blocked immediately on the machine. Certain suspicious activities are processed further in our cloud systems, which gives Exploit Blocker the potential to protect users against targeted attacks and previously unknown exploits, so called zero-day attacks.


Java Exploit Blocker

Java Exploit Blocker uncovers attempts to take advantage of weaknesses in Java. It keeps a constant lookout over processes for any signs of suspicious activity or behavior. Threats are blocked and the fingerprint is sent to ESET LiveGrid® cloud system to ward off future attacks.

Related products - Exploit Blocker and Java Exploit Blocker Technologies are used in:

Botnet Protection

Botnet protection provides another, network-based layer of detection to reveal possible running threats.

It searches outgoing network communications for known malicious patterns, and matches the remote site against a blacklist of malicious ones. Any detected malicious communication is blocked and reported to the user.

Related products - Botnet Protection is used in:

Advanced Memory Scanner

Advanced Memory Scanner couples nicely with Exploit Blocker, as it is also designed to strengthen protection against modern malware. In an effort to evade detection, malware writers extensively use file obfuscation and/or encryption. This causes problems with unpacking and can pose a challenge for common anti-malware techniques, such as emulation or heuristics. To tackle this problem, the Advanced Memory Scanner monitors the behavior of a malicious process and scans it once it decloaks in the memory. This allows for effective detection of even heavily obfuscated malware. Unlike Exploit Blocker, this is a post-execution method, which means that there is a risk that some malicious activity could have been performed already. However, it steps into the protection chain as a last resort when everything else fails.

Related products - Advanced Memory Scanner Technology is used in:

Vulnerability Shield

Vulnerability shield is an extension of firewall and improves detection of known vulnerabilities on the network level.

By implementing detection for common vulnerabilities in widely used protocols, such as SMB, RPC and RDP, it constitutes another important layer of protection against spreading malware, network-conducted attacks and exploitation of vulnerabilities for which a patch has not yet been released or deployed.

Related products: Vulnerability Shield is used in

ESET LiveGrid®

Built on our ThreatSense.NET® advanced early warning system, ESET LiveGrid® utilizes data that ESET users have submitted worldwide and sends it to ESET's Malware Research Lab.

By providing suspicious samples and metadata from the wild, ESET LiveGrid® is a vital feedback system that enables us to react immediately to the needs of our customers and adapt to the latest threats. ESET malware researchers use the information to build an accurate snapshot of the nature and scope of global threats, which helps us focus on the right targets. ESET LiveGrid® data plays an important role in setting priorities in our automated processing.

Moreover, it implements a reputation system that helps to improve the overall efficiency of our anti-malware solutions. When an executable file or archive is being inspected on a user’s system, its hashtag is first compared against a database of white- and blacklisted items.

If it is found on the whitelist, the inspected file is considered clean and also flagged to be excluded from future scans. If it is on the blacklist, appropriate actions are taken – based on the nature of the threat. Only if no match is found is the file scanned thoroughly. Based on the results of this scan the file becomes a candidate for addition to one of the two lists. This approach has a significant positive impact on scanning performance.

This reputation system allows for effective detection of malware even before signatures are delivered to users’ computers via our virus signature database update (which happens several times a day).

Related products: ESET LiveGrid® Technology is used in all ESET antivirus products:

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Anti-Phishing technology protects you from attempts to acquire passwords, banking data and other sensitive information by fake websites, masquerading as legitimate ones.

When a user’s computer attempts to access a URL, ESET systems compare it against our database of known phishing sites. If a match is found, connection to the URL is aborted and a warning message is displayed. At this point, the user has the option to proceed to the URL at his/her own risk or report the URL to us as a potential false positive warning.

The Anti-phishing database is updated by ESET regularly (users’ computers receive data about new phishing threats every 20 minutes).

Along with this straightforward approach, ESET Anti-Phishing implements specific proactive algorithms. These inspect the visual design of websites in an effort to eliminate those mimicking their genuine counterparts. This approach is used to detect, for example, fake internet banking forms.

Related products - Anti-Phishing Technology is used in:

Malware sample processing

ESET’s Security Research Lab daily receives many infected samples from various sources. Sample submissions from users, customers or distributors (sent to [email protected]) are an important source of new malware.

Other sources include sample exchanges or active honey pots, for example. After being pre-processed by automated algorithms, the received samples are reviewed by a team of detection engineers and malware analysts. Their job is to decide whether the submitted file or URL is malicious, and if it is, to create a suitable detection algorithm for it.

There are several types of detection signatures and the detection engineer has to choose the most effective one depending on the characteristics of malware. Newly created signatures are then packed together and released to our users in the form of a Virus Database Update. These updates are rolled out several times a day.

Related products: ESET LiveGrid® Technology is used in all ESET products:

Signature types

ESET’s scanning engine uses several types of detection signatures for detecting malicious objects (files, processes, URLs, etc.).

The signature types range from very specific hashes (useful, for example, in targeting specific malicious binaries, specific versions of malware, for statistical purposes, or simply for giving a more precise detection name to a malware that we have been detecting heuristically) to DNA-based Smart Signatures, which are rather complex definitions of malicious behavior and malware characteristics. These signatures also rely on heuristics and emulation to evaluate the scanned sample.

The strength of ESET’s proactive detection lies in the Smart DNA signatures. They mean that the detection is effective, as well as efficient – a single well-crafted signature can detect thousands of related malware variants and enables our antivirus software not only to detect malware that we already know of, or have seen before, but also new, previously unknown variants.

Related products: ESET LiveGrid® Technology is used in all ESET products:


When a computer is infected with malware, it will usually suffice to delete the detected file(s) in order to clean the infected system. But in certain cases – for example when the malware has modified operating system files, tampered with the system Registry or when a parasitic virus has infected the user’s own files – the situation gets more complicated. Simply deleting the infected file could cause data loss or even render the computer unbootable.

Therefore, a different approach – cleaning or disinfection of the infected files – has to be taken. In most such cases the cleaning is performed directly by the installed antivirus. Exceptionally, however, the disinfection steps are too complex or simply too dangerous (system stability-wise) and we may opt to release standalone cleaners for this purpose. These are available free of charge, also for non-customers.

See the list of available cleaners

Related products: ESET LiveGrid® Technology is used in all ESET products:

Advanced Heuristics

Advanced Heuristics is one of the technologies used for proactive detection. It provides the ability to detect unknown malware based on its functionality through emulation. The latest version introduces a completely new way of code emulation based on binary translation.

This new binary translator helps to bypass anti-emulation tricks used by malware writers. Along these improvements, DNA-based scanning has also been extended significantly. This allows for better detections which address current malware more accurately.

Related products: ESET LiveGrid® Technology is used in all ESET antivirus products:

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