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Security Response
Showing posts tagged with Evolution of Security
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Thomas Parsons | 19 Jan 2010 15:05:34 GMT

Symantec goes to great lengths to prevent false positives from occurring. Undoubtedly false positives (FPs) are a concern for all vendors across the antivirus industry. However with as large a user base as Symantec has, we need to set the bar very high. Symantec’s content is used on over 120 million devices around the world so any software defects like a false positive have a much higher chance of being exposed than with a smaller user base.

Given the importance of false positives our quality assurance team is at the forefront of efforts to prevent them. With this in mind we’d like to make available recently completed research in this area. The research is entitled ‘A False Positive Prevention Framework for Non-Heuristic Anti-Virus Signatures’ and is in the form of a case study (based on Symantec). That sounds like a mouthful...

Samir_Patil | 14 Jan 2010 20:17:13 GMT
After contributing 30 - 50% of URL spam in 2009, the volume of .cn spam is on the decline. It appears that the drop is due to the recent enhancement in domain registration procedures introduced by China's Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC). On December 11, CNNIC announced a new registration procedure for .cn domains.
Data gathered in the Symantec Probe Network shows that the volume of .cn spam fluctuated around 40% until December 11. After a sudden spike in the volume on December 13, the .cn spam volume plunged to around 20%.
.CN domains are mostly exploited by Canadian Pharmacy spammers to host online meds sites. The most common subject lines in .cn spam campaign are:
Subject: Visitor [...
Symantec Security Response | 08 Jan 2010 16:46:58 GMT

Last December we saw a couple of malicious JavaScript strings being pasted into Web sites on compromised servers. The beginning of the scripts look like one of the following:

  • <script>/*GNU GPL*/ try{window.onload = function(){var ~
  • <script>/*CODE1*/ try{window.onload = function(){var ~

We’ve now confirmed a new version. One of the sites we saw was originally compromised with the "/*GNU GPL*/" script and was recently updated with the "/*LGPL*/" script. A top portion of the obfuscated script looks something like this:

<script>/*LGPL*/ try{ window.onload = function(){var C1nse3sk8o41s = document.createElement('s&c^$#r))i($p@&t^&'.repl

Once deobfuscated, it leads to a URL that looks something like this:



Thomas Parsons | 10 Dec 2009 16:17:19 GMT

In quality assurance circles at Symantec it is often stated that clean data (e.g. files from clean software) are to false positives as malicious data are to true positives. In simple terms this means that clean data helps us prevent false positives in the same way that we can’t write antivirus signatures or antivirus technology if we don’t have malicious data.

At Symantec we go to serious lengths to generate, and also source, clean data to assist with our false-positive prevention efforts. With this in mind, over the past 12 months we piloted a “software white-listing program” that allows software developers and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) the opportunity to proactively white-list their software with Symantec.  The good news is that, due to the success of the pilot program, we are ready to offer this program on a...

Henry Bell | 09 Dec 2009 23:10:48 GMT

Ahoy there ye landlubbers! The high seas of wireless security appear to have gone commercial with the introduction of a paid service that means it just got a whole lot easier for a casual attacker to break into your wireless network. Before going on to talk about how this attack vector can be used, though, we'll quickly cover off some terminology; Wi-Fi standards can be an acronym minefield.

Many moons ago—more than ten years ago, in fact—a move was made to devise a method of securing wireless networks that would provide a level of confidentiality equivalent to that of traditional wired networks. The name Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) was given to the system. Unfortunately flaws emerged and it turned out to be trivial to circumvent. WEP is still built in to most Wi-Fi products on the market, but security-wise it was blown out of the water long ago and as such its use is now heavily deprecated. Roll out the successors!

Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)...

Marian Merritt | 20 Nov 2009 14:45:48 GMT

I had the honor recently of moderating a virtual roundtable discussion on the top Internet security trends from 2009 and what we expect to see in the security threat landscape in 2010. Funny thing about security predictions—you hope they won’t come true, but expect them to anyway. The roundtable featured expert panelists Paul Wood (Senior Analyst, MessageLabs Intelligence, Symantec) and Zulfikar Ramzan (Technical Director, Symantec Security Response). They each have unique insights into the world of cybercrime, spam, phishing attacks, and other cyberthreats that plague us all.
We want to give a big thanks to everyone who joined in to listen to our experts, and we hope you found it interesting. For those of you who couldn’t make it, please take a few minutes to listen to the podcast of the actual roundtable.

You can read more about...

Eric Chien | 18 Nov 2009 19:54:37 GMT

Zeus is a botnet package that allows for the easy creation and command and control of a botnet.  We've discussed Zeus previously in Zeus, King of the Underground Crimeware Toolkits. The main purpose of Zeus is to steal online credentials such as online banking passwords, but it can be configured to steal passwords from any online site. 

Today, the BBC is reporting that police in the UK have arrested two suspects in relation to Zeus. While the details are preliminary, the two likely appear to be users of the Zeus botnet package rather than the actual creators, and thus the prevalence and usage of Zeus is likely to continue.

We've created a research paper providing more in-depth information on Zeus, including how the bot is created, what functionality it has, and additional...

khaley | 17 Nov 2009 20:13:47 GMT

Yes, it’s a cheap trick and not even close to original. But the lesson here is that even obvious social engineering tricks can get people to click on a link. We can’t help ourselves. We love to click. Clicking on links and attachments that are accompanied by just the slightest bit of social engineering appears to be a basic human need. I expect it to show up in a revision of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs any day now—behind love, but certainly ahead of safety.

I do have a point to all this. Two actually. As we compiled the Security Trends to Watch in 2010, what occurred to me is that the people who most needed to read this information never will. At least not without some social engineering on my part. And since social engineering plays such a prominent role in future trends, it seemed appropriate. So I’ve decided to use this little trick to get people to...

khaley | 17 Nov 2009 19:59:04 GMT

The Security Response team has compiled the top security trends of 2009. We pulled data from the Global Intelligence Network and the experiences of the thousands of analysts and security experts at Symantec to come up with the top trends for the year. While none of these trends will be a surprise to anyone even casually following the threat landscape, when compiled and summarized, it is clear that the breadth of security problems in the past year was pretty stunning.

For example:

•    Toolkits and threat recycling have made malware easier to create than ever
•    Polymorphic technology is being applied to make threats harder to catch
•    Botnets, large and small, are used as the foundation of attacks making most attacks complex
•    All major news events are used for social engineering
•    Major brands are being appropriated by cybercriminals...

Adrian Pisarczyk | 16 Nov 2009 21:03:47 GMT

On November 4, 2009, Marsh Ray published detailed information about a vulnerability that affects the TLS/SSL protocols and allows for limited man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. We say “limited” because the attack exploiting this issue would be different from traditionally viewed MITM attacks, which would involve an attacker placing themselves in the middle of the SSL session between a client and a server and being able to intercept, view, and modify any requests or responses exchanged by the two communicating parties. In an attack using this recent TLS vulnerability, due to the way SSL-enabled applications handle the session-renegotiation process, an attacker may inject arbitrary plaintext into the beginning of the application protocol stream. This can affect multiple protocols that can communicate over an SSL session, such as HTTPS, IMAP, POPS, SIP, etc. Note that in this attack, the attacker would have no ability (...