Feeds

Schneier spanks AV industry over Flame failures

The problem is in the process

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.