With ‘white list’, VoodooShield aims to change antivirus game
Dan Butler has been killing viruses for 13 years.
As a computer consultant working with data recovery and security, Butler said he always knew there had to be a way to stop all viruses. He hopes his Overland Park, Kan.-based startup's recently launched antivirus software, VoodooShield — an idea that came to him at 3 a.m. — is the answer.*
Most antivirus software creates a “black list,” or a list of programs that the software will prevent the computer from running.
"They're just basically a filter," Butler said. "They look at these processes and programs that come in and they're basically just guessing whether it's a good program or not."
When computers were new, Butler said, it made sense to filter out viruses because there weren't very many. Now, however, antivirus programs have to recognize around 60,000 new viruses each day in order to be effective.
That's why VoodooShield works in the opposite direction of most virus protection software. Instead of serving as a filter to prevent bad programs from infiltrating a computer, the software creates what Butler calls a "white list."
"Instead of guessing, we put an absolute lock on (the computer) so if it's not on the white list, it's not allowed period," Butler said.
Users can manually add programs to the list of allowed programs. They can also first run VoodooShield in "training mode," which allows them to go about their normal tasks while VoodooShield takes note and adds those programs to the white list.
Butler (left) said a recently added feature allows the user to add all programs that were already installed on the computer to the white list.
VoodooShield takes up relatively little space on a hard drive, Butler said, using one megabyte of hard drive space, which is much less than what most antivirus software uses.
The company recently completed a six-month beta testing period in which the software was free. Now, it’s priced at $19.99 for a year’s subscription.
“A lot of our users are people from Wilders Security Forums and security experts and hobbyists,” Butler said.
VoodooShield was also recently made available on download.com.
Butler, along with two other developers, has been working on VoodooShield full time for roughly a year. About 15 people are involved, including business advisors and investors, but the company hopes to soon expand and hire employees focused on sales.
The software is currently only for Windows users, but Butler said it will eventually be available for all platforms, including iOS and Android.
“Right now, we’re going after the Windows market, but our patent covers all platforms and we plan to protect all of them eventually,” he said.
For a brief demonstration of how VoodooShield works, see the video below.
Credits: Photo of Butler courtesy of Butler. Video from youtube.com.
*Update June 14, 11:25 a.m. - VoodooShield is based in Overland Park, Kan. A previous version of the story indicated it was located in Olathe, Kan.
*Update June 15, 3 p.m.- VoodooShield takes up one megabyte of hard drive space. A previous version of the story indicated VoodooShield uses one megabyte of RAM.