Feeds

Stealth techniques push malware under the radar

Roots you, sir

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Increased use of stealth techniques such as rootkits is leading to fewer reports of new viruses, according to a study by net security outfit VeriSign iDefense.

Since 2003, VeriSign iDefense has been collecting and recording information on every uniquely identifiable malicious code, using public and private resources. Discovery of malicious codes was steadily growing between 2003 and 2005, but from January to June 2006 VeriSign iDefense noticed a significant downward trend each month.

Its conclusions are markedly different from those of anti-virus vendors, who report a decrease in mass-mailing worms but an increase in more targeted attacks.

VeriSign iDefense has a number of theories about why it is seeing fewer examples of malware doing the rounds. For one, anti-virus programs may be improperly detecting polymorphic codes as older variants or code families. Then again, malware authors might be turning to phishing and pharming attacks as a means to rack in illicit funds. As such attacks grow in popularity, the theory goes, they might start to replace malicious codes as a means to gain personal information for financial gain.

While it's true that phishing attacks are gaining in sophistication, VeriSign iDefense neglects to mention that key-logging Trojans are one of the most effective means to gain secret account information.

However, the company believes the most significant factor in the decrease of malware it reports is the increased use of rootkit techniques. Rootkits, designed to push malware "under the radar", are increasingly foiling anti-virus programs and other security techniques, it says.

VeriSign iDefense reckons the number of malicious codes installed today is still significant, but simply not being detected.

Senior malicious code analyst Frederick Doyle said: "Levels of spamming continue to be a good indicator of malicious code use, as those techniques are generally used by the same types of hackers. As the public improves in its defences against spamming, malicious code users are increasingly turning to different means of attack." ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.