When it comes to computer security, the speed of the computer is almost as important as the knowledge of the person who is supposed to be defending the attack. And I am not talking about the speed of the computer that is being attacked. No, I am talking about the computer whose job it is to provide the firewall or do the routing. These are the machines that usually have the protection software in them. Sometimes these are the same machines that the end user uses and sometimes they are not. When you are on a small to mid size network and you do not have customized machines dedicated to this type of work, then you need to make sure that the commodity box you do have is up to the job.
Recently to speed up machines, besides just making them faster, there has been a large move to use a more parallel architecture. This is accomplished by using more cores in the processors that are already installed. In the beginning you would slowly start to see the parallel architecture in the normal processors of the computers you bought. This is why you would see the tags such as dual and quad core computers. But now, that type of architecture has worked so well, they are bringing it to other parts of the computer as well. You now see the parallel architecture being used in the GPU of the computer. And that is what brings us to CUDA and how it can help you in the security field.
What is the GPU?
When you see the letters GPU you might think that someone misspelled CPU. But that is not the case. The letters GPU stand for Graphic Processing Unit. When computer makers saw that video games and other graphic intensive properties were becoming too much for the graphics cards that were out on the market, they came up with a solution. They decided that they were going to put a processor chip inside of the graphics card. This processing chip was dedicated to nothing but the graphics that run on the computer. This chip is known as the GPU.
So what is CUDA?
The letters CUDA stand for Compute Unified Device Architecture. This is the item that allows third party developers to be able to access the power in the GPU that I talked about earlier in the article. It is also known as the computing engine inside of the GPU. When it comes to this type of architecture, most of the time you are going to see computers with nVidia graphics cards come with the CUDA inside. There are many reasons why a developer would want to do this but most of the time it has something to do with the graphics of the computer. But every now and then a piece of software will use the CUDA for something besides the graphics. They just need the power of an extra processor. Recently, a lot of computer security software has been following this exact route.
Computer Security programs using CUDA
Recently developers of security programs have figured out that they can keep the computer from running slow when it is in the middle of an exam of the software installed in it by using the CUDA / GPU instead of using the normal CPU.
A lot of the time when people use their antivirus program to scan a file that has been introduced the computer their number one complaint is that it makes the computer run slow. And even though they do not want to see the machine become compromised, they do not have the patience to wait. When a security program is able to run their processes through the GPU instead of the CPU this no longer becomes a problem. The program is considered running in the background and should not interrupt any of the programs that are running in the foreground. And the best part about it is the fact that GPU’s are getting stronger and stronger everyday because of this fact.
When you have the responsibility for making sure that all of the computers on your network are protected then you want to get the best solution possible. The best solution involves several different factors. These factors include speed, power, and the ability to make users want to use it. If the end users do not try to protect their computer because it is inconvenient then every other factor is null and void.
Hopefully using CUDA in your security software solutions will help alleviate this problem. It should make the computer go faster and you will have less people complaining about having to wait to use their favorite programs when the antivirus is running in the background. They will now be able to have their systems protected while at the same time do their normal every day activities on the computer.