Feeds

NSA writes more potent malware than hacker

Spooky project plots zero day defences

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

A project aimed at developing defences against malware that attacks unpatched vulnerabilities involved tests on samples developed by the NSA.

The ultra-secretive US spy agency supplied network testing firm Iometrix with eight worms as part of its plans to develop what it describes as the industry's first Zero-day Attack Test Platform.

Richard Dagnell, VP of sales and marketing at Iometrix, said the six month project also featured tests involving two worm samples developed by a convicted hacker. The potency of the malware supplied by the NSA far exceeded that created by the hacker.

"We hired someone to create worms from scratch. A freelancer, who did the same sort of work for NASA, and was imprisoned for seven years for hacking offences," Dagnell said.

Iometrix's Zero-day Attack Test Platform detected both of the samples of malicious code developed by the hacker, but only three of the eight malware samples supplied by the NSA. Dagnell said the six month project was offered to the firm out of the blue and came to an end in March. Although not wholly successful the detection of half the attacks thrown against Iometrix's platform showed its work was progressing along the right lines, Dagnell added.

Other security experts were more skeptical about whether it was taking the right approach.

"You don't need to write viruses to test security technologies. There's no shortage of new malware. Also you examine existing stuff and study techniques," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
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
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.