Feeds

Virus arms race primes malware numbers surge

Half malware strains are junked after less than a day

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Half (52 per cent) of new malware strains only stick around for 24 hours or less.

The prevalence of short lived variants reflects a tactic by miscreants aimed at overloading security firms so that more damaging strains of malware remain undetected for longer, according to a study by Panda Security.

The security firm, based in Bilbao, Spain, detects an average of 37,000 new viruses, worms, Trojans and other security threats per day. Around an average of 19,240 spread and try to infect users for just 24 hours, after which they become inactive as they are replaced by other, new variants.

Virus writers - increasingly motivated by profit - try to ensure their creations go unnoticed by users and stay under the radar of firms. It's now become common practice for VXers to review detection rates and modify viral code after 24 hours. The practice goes towards explaining the growing malware production rate.

The amount of catalogued malware by Panda was 18 million in the 20 years from the firm's foundation until the end of 2008. This figure increased 60 per cent in just seven months to reach 30 million by 31 July 2009.

Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs, explained: "This is a never-ending race which, unfortunately, the hackers are still winning."

"We have to wait until we get hold of the malware they have created to be able to analyse, classify and combat it. In this race, vendors that work with traditional, manual analysis techniques are too slow to vaccinate clients, as the distribution and infection span is very short."

Corrons added that Panda's cloud-based Collective Intelligence approach made its technology more agile, thereby reducing the risk window. Other security vendors, including Trend and McAfee, are also adopting cloud-based architectures to deal with the same problem of growing malware production rates. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.