Feeds

Security biz U-turns on Gauss, Flame joint cyberspy hub claim

FireEye mistook rival's sinkhole for command server

The essential guide to IT transformation

Computer security biz FireEye has withdrawn claims that the Gauss and Flame super-viruses may be linked.

This is after it emerged that what FireEye had thought was a shared command-and-control server, used to send instructions to PCs compromised by the malware, was actually a "sinkhole" maintained by rival researchers at Kaspersky Lab.

FireEye had noticed communications from both virus strains were heading to the same IP address – but this was a system set up by the Russian lab, which had asked DNS providers to redirect data sent from the two software nasties so as to examine their network traffic.

Staff from Kaspersky came forward to explain their role after FireEye published a blog post asserting that whoever created Flame must also have created Gauss, a conclusion FireEye researchers quickly withdrew. Kaspersky experts had previously pointed to some coding similarities between the two malware strains, both of which have been linked to presumably state-sponsored espionage in the Middle East.

"In light of new information shared by the security community, we now know that our original conclusions were incorrect and we cannot associate these two malware families based solely upon these common CnC coordinates," FireEye researchers conceded in an updated blog post.

"We apologise for any confusion that has resulted from our earlier assumptions. Unfortunately, the lack of a common information exchange about such activities can result in misleading conclusions."

Sinkholes do not advertise themselves as such, so innocent mistakes along these lines are more or less inevitable in the absence of better communication among security firms. For example, an analysis of malicious botnet command-and-control servers by security outfit Damballa a couple of years back failed to factor in the existence of deliberately established sinkholes, leading to incorrect conclusions as a result. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
KER-CHING! CryptoWall ransomware scam rakes in $1 MEEELLION
Anatomy of the net's most destructive ransomware threat
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
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.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.