Feeds

NSA writes more potent malware than hacker

Spooky project plots zero day defences

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.