Hagiwara Sys-Com, a manufacturer of industrial flash memory applications, is shipping its Vaccine USB, a portable virus detection tool for Windows OS-based industrial systems.
In the past, Hagiwara Sys-Com says, industrial systems were built for specific functions and long life, and were typically custom built with their own proprietary operating system. In comparison, for ease of manufacture and better cost performance, the majority of modern systems increasingly use Windows OS based off-the-shelf industrial computers. For this reason, these systems are at higher risk of being attacked by the same viruses that affect office computers and can cause expensive plant shutdowns or service disruptions.
Typical anti-virus software, which are effective at safeguarding office computers, are limited from being deployed on the factory floor. Most industrial computers have only intermittent access to the internet, if any, which prevents up-to-date virus definition and program version updates. In addition, with the highest priority placed on maximum performance, risk of system slowdowns due to real-time virus monitoring is another barrier to installation type virus programs. Another limitation are product warranties that restrict user installation of any non-manufacturer approved software, including anti-virus scan software, which could void the warranty and possibly incur expensive fees to restore back to factory settings.
The Vaccine USB is designed to meet these challenges through its portable virus scan software that requires no software installation. Powered by anti-virus industry leader McAfee, up-to-date virus definitions can be downloaded to the Vaccine USB from any internet-accessible computer so that users can perform the virus scan with the latest definition file even in network-isolated environments.
The Vaccine USB works seamlessly with computers running Windows operating systems including XP Embedded, a popular platform for industrial computers. Upon insertion of the Vaccine USB, the virus scan program stored on its emulated CD-ROM partition will auto-run, a significant benefit for industrial computers that may lack a keyboard, mouse, or monitor. The Vaccine USB default is set to perform virus “scan only”, but can be configured to “scan and remove” the infected files as well. The scan results are provided by LED lights on the device, red light indicates viruses detected or a blue light will indicate a clean system. A detailed scan log is saved on the device, allowing further review by IT technicians.
“We understand the customer’s operational realities and designed the Vaccine USB to meet their requests,” said Moto Watanabe, product manager of Hagiwara Sys-Com US. “Our scan on demand Vaccine USB enables facility IT and floor employees to proactively identify and manage threats, allowing for early detection and minimizing possible damage. Innovative features such as no software installation, auto-run, and scan results displayed by LED make the Vaccine USB ideal for immediate virus monitoring for industrial applications.”
The Vaccine USB is intended for usage in industrial settings including factory automation, professional AV equipment, medical systems and test and measurement devices, among several others.