Qualcomm plans to incorporate new anti-malware technology into upcoming chips, starting with the Snapdragon 820 processor.
The company’s new “Snapdragon Smart Protect” technology uses on-device machine learning to detect zero-day malware threats on mobile devices.
While most current anti-malware solutions work by downloading information about existing threats from an online database and then scanning your system to see if those threats are present. But Qualcomm says its Smart Protect solution can identify new threats even before their signatures are downloaded from a database.
That’s because it uses machine-learning to detect activity from apps that looks like it could be malicious. For example, it can alert you when an app that shouldn’t need access to camera or SMS functionality is taking a picture or sending a message.
The technology could also monitor to see what happens after you close an app, to see if it’s using suspicious features while continuing to run in the background, detect if an otherwise harmless app may have been infected with malware, and more.
Snapdragon Smart Protect is the first product built on Qualcomm’s Zeroth platform for machine learning, which was announced earlier this year. The company says since the technology runs at the chip level, it will be harder for malicious apps to trick Smart Protect into thinking they’re safe than it would be for a normal security app.
While Qualcomm is building support for Smart Protect into the Snapdragon 820 processor, the company won’t necessarily be providing an app directly to users. Instead, Qualcomm providing Smart Protect APIs to device makers and anti-malware software companies, so Smart Protect technology could be built into a variety of different anti-malware solutions for upcoming smartphones, tablets, and other devices.
Smart Protect should be available in early 2016, when the Snapdragon 820 processor is expected to hit the streets.