Microsoft Windows users seeking more certainty about the security and integrity of downloaded files should take a look at a free new offering from Internet security research firm Team Cymru (pronounced kum-ree) that provides a solid backup to anti-virus scans.
The tool, called “WinMHR,” is an extension of the “Malware Hash Registry” (MHR), an anti-malware service that Team Cymru has offered for several years. The MHR is a large repository of the unique fingerprints or “hashes” that correspond to millions of files that have been identified as malicious by dozens of anti-virus firms and other security experts over the years.
The MHR has been a valuable tool for malware analysts, but until now its Web-based and command-line interface has placed it just outside the reach of most average computers users. WinMHR, on the other hand, is essentially a more user-friendly, point-and-click interface for the traditional MHR service, which Team Cyrmu described this way:
“While your AV posture helps you perform detection based on signatures, heuristics and polymorphism, the MHR provides you additional layer of detection, for known badness. Based on our research, AV packages have trouble detecting every possible piece of malware when it first appears. The MHR leverages multiple AV packages and our own malware analysis sandbox to help aid your detection rate. Coupled with AV, the MHR helps identify known problems so you can take action.”