Feeds

Malware goes to the movies

Dangerous liaisons

3 Big data security analytics techniques

While video files, as entertainment, evoke less suspicion on the part of users, they also have a number of disadvantages.

In the world of data, video files are the lumbering cruise liners, the Titanics. For standard TV quality video, a 30-second clip may only require downloading 2Mb to 3Mb, but a 23 minute TV episode weighs in at a third of a gigabyte, and a full-length movie can easily top a gigabyte. A video of any appreciable length contains enough bits to slow down a home internet connection to a crawl, though more highly compressed video takes up less bandwidth.

The sheer size of such files make them a less appealing target, said OffensiveComputing's Smith.

"I think users are a bit more likely to open a video file but they are also a little harder to transport around because of their size," he said. "Often malware authors want something small."

The cross-platform nature of video files also makes them less appealing, Smith said. An attacker would either have to target an exploit for a single platform or attempt to encode the file in such a way as to work on different systems. In the 40,000 samples of malware that OffensiveComputing has in its database, none use video as an infection vector, he said.

Not only is video harder for an attacker to use, the files are easier for a defender to secure, said Adrian Ludwig, senior manager for secure software engineering at Adobe.

"The threat models for video are far more well understood," Ludwig said. "It is either a good piece of video or it's not."

Run-of-the-mill Flash content, which contains scripting and is event driven, can be far more complex, Ludwig said. Flash-creator Macromedia - and then Adobe, which bought the company in April 2005 - has increasingly focused on the security of the multimedia technology as its popularity grew.

"We have been responding to the issues for many years now, and I think we put out releases as fast as anyone else," Ludwig said.

In the end, while virus writers are currently experimenting with video files, other media files will likely become more popular, said McAfee's Schmugar.

"As more users adopt any technology, that's where there attacker will go," McAfee's Schmugar said. "It is a little early to say it is the beginning of a trend, but it's safe to say that we expect to see continued attention on media files as a vector."

This article originally appeared in Security Focus.

Copyright © 2006, SecurityFocus

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Arts and crafts store Michaels says 3 million credit cards exposed in breach
Meanwhile, Target investigators prepare for long process in nabbing hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.