Feeds

Build malware protection into operating systems

Security guru calls for integrity

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Malware protection needs to be built into operating systems rather than bolted on as an afterthought if the industry stands any chance of dealing with the evolving threat of targeted attacks, according to a senior security researcher.

Joanna Rutkowska, chief exec of Invisible Things Lab, who is best known for her research on rootkits and Vista security, told delegates to the Gartner security conference in London on Monday that user stupidity was only part of the security problem.

She said competent users who, for example, used the privilege separation features built into Vista, were still not safe from security exploits. Better auto-exploit protection technology needs to be developed. In order to work properly this needs to built into operating systems.

"Third party prevention uses tricks and hacks. And that's no good," she said.

Rutkowska has been prominent in the industry for exposing the security shortcomings of Vista's kernel protection technology.

While recognising the general importance of security protection technologies, Rutkowska also noted their shortcomings. "Current technology is not reliable in detecting stealth malware. Protection solutions fail so we need detection. The two need to go together.

"Detection technologies are currently immature and even as the approach develops it will not replace prevention technologies, which are far more mature, despite their shortcomings," she said.

"Detection can never replace prevention. It's too late to do anything if, for example, you detect that your data has been stolen. You can't do anything to make an attacker forget what he has discovered."

Anti-virus vendors have found themselves locked in a perpetual arms race with virus writers, who are increasingly looking to make money from malware. Advances in rootkit development and obfuscation are accompanied by counter-responses from security vendors. Rutkowska argues that we need to move beyond this approach and develop an "automated way to check system integrity".

"The difficulty is that operating systems are too complex. We can't even reliably read system memory," Rutkowska pointed out. "It's not exactly a question of starting from scratch, but some code will need to be rewritten from the start," she added. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.