Feeds

Schneier spanks AV industry over Flame failures

The problem is in the process

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Security guru Bruce Schneier has questioned some of the excuses coming from the antivirus industry as to why it is taking them so long to pick up advanced malware like Flame and Stuxnet.

Schneier's scolding was inspired by a mea culpa published in Wired by F-Secure's top security man, Mikko Hypponen. He admitted that when Flame was discovered F-Secure back-checked and found samples of the malware from two years ago and in the cases of both Stuxnet and DuQu the code had been in circulation for a year before being picked up.

"The truth is, consumer-grade antivirus products can’t protect against targeted malware created by well-resourced nation-states with bulging budgets," he wrote. "They can protect you against run-of-the-mill malware: banking trojans, keystroke loggers and e-mail worms. But targeted attacks like these go to great lengths to avoid antivirus products on purpose."

The kind of zero-day holes used by such malware are unknown by definition, he said, and the fact that such malware was being pretested against the most current commercial antivirus software meant that it wasn't a "fair war."

"I don't buy this," said Schneier. "It isn't just the military that tests their malware against commercial defense products; criminals do it, too. Virus and worm writers do it. Spam writers do it. This is the never-ending arms race between attacker and defender, and it's been going on for decades."

While it's likely that the Flame developers had a bigger budget than your common-or-garden cybercriminal, that wasn't the issue he argued. There's nothing particularly stealthy about the code itself. What makes Flame, Stuxnet et al more stealthy is that they are distributed in a slow, small-scale manner and are therefore considered either false-positives or not worth investigating.

"It seems clear that conventional non-military malware writers that want to evade detection should adopt the propagation techniques of Flame, Stuxnet, and DuQu," he concluded. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
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
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
prev story

Whitepapers

Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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?
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.