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Sarah Gordon | 27 Nov 2006 08:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

Here at Symantec, one of our beliefs isthat keeping people safe online requires more than just a knowledge oftechnology. It requires a knowledge of how people - both good guys andbad guys - actually use technology. It also requires an understandingof how people view technology and safety. It requires the ability tocommunicate different types of ideas to a wide variety of people; fromteenaged users to the CFO, from the college educator to the data entryoperator. It's a huge job and I was just reflecting today on how veryfortunate I am to be working within a group that not only sees thevalue of the multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approaches, butone that actively supports and encourages it.

I recently spent a week at the Santa Fe Institute,learning about scientific advances in everything from the communicationpatterns of male...

Al Hartmann | 24 Nov 2006 08:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

I posted a blog earlier this weekthat introduced an abstract host security metasystem and the sensor andeffector instrumentation laws, which are two components of the laws ofhost security. Today’s blog outlines the security and policy componentlaws. Symantec posted a draft proposal on an abstract host securitymetasystem and the laws of host security in order to gain discussionand suggested improvements from interested parties in the securityindustry. Symantec posted this draft to openly solicit constructivecomments and helpful suggestions for draft refinements. The intent isto reach industry consensus on an architectural framework to guidedesigners of future host security subsystems and supportinginstrumentation.

metasystem.jpg...

Mimi Hoang | 23 Nov 2006 08:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

We have recently seen an increase in the number of zero-day exploits, which indicates that attackers are being more methodical in their discovery and use of software vulnerabilities. A zero-day exploit occurs when a software flaw is only discovered after it is already being exploited in the wild (and there isn’t a patch available from the vendor).

The “window of exposure” is the time frame during which users of vulnerable software will be at risk. This is calculated as the difference in time between when a vulnerability is exploited and when a patch is made available. The average window of exposure from the first six months of 2006 was 28 days – a dangerously large window in which systems and users are at risk. Average time to develop a patch – Time to develop exploit code = window of exposure (31 – 3 = 28 days).
While vendors continue to make strides and reduce the amount of time it takes to release a patch, attackers seem to be staying one step ahead of...

Mimi Hoang | 23 Nov 2006 08:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

We have recently seen an increase in the number of zero-day exploits, which indicates that attackers are being more methodical in their discovery and use of software vulnerabilities. A zero-day exploit occurs when a software flaw is only discovered after it is already being exploited in the wild (and there isn’t a patch available from the vendor).

The “window of exposure” is the time frame during which users of vulnerable software will be at risk. This is calculated as the difference in time between when a vulnerability is exploited and when a patch is made available. The average window of exposure from the first six months of 2006 was 28 days – a dangerously large window in which systems and users are at risk. Average time to develop a patch – Time to develop exploit code = window of exposure (31 – 3 = 28 days).
While vendors continue to make strides and reduce the amount of time it takes to release a patch, attackers seem to be staying one step ahead of...

Patrick Fitzgerald | 22 Nov 2006 08:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

Malware is becoming increasingly complex. Take Rustock.B for example: this threat goes above and beyond to prevent analysis and detection. A blog article is probably too small of a space to describe everything Rustock does technically, but you shouldn’t be surprised, considering its complexity, that Rustock has a clear financial motive. In particular, apart from hiding itself with advanced rootkit techniques, the primary goal of this threat is to send a lot of spam. Because we capture spam such as this, it allows us to update our email security products, such as Brightmail AntiSpam. In addition to pharmaceuticals, mortgages, and imitation product spam, Rustock has also sent stock-based spam. Stock-based spam usually consists of some random text, followed by an image, followed by more random text. Below is an example of one of the stock-based...

Patrick Fitzgerald | 22 Nov 2006 08:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

Malware is becoming increasingly complex. Take Rustock.B for example: this threat goes above and beyond to prevent analysis and detection. A blog article is probably too small of a space to describe everything Rustock does technically, but you shouldn’t be surprised, considering its complexity, that Rustock has a clear financial motive. In particular, apart from hiding itself with advanced rootkit techniques, the primary goal of this threat is to send a lot of spam. Because we capture spam such as this, it allows us to update our email security products, such as Brightmail AntiSpam. In addition to pharmaceuticals, mortgages, and imitation product spam, Rustock has also sent stock-based spam. Stock-based spam usually consists of some random text, followed by an image, followed by more random text. Below is an example of one of the stock-based...

Al Hartmann | 21 Nov 2006 08:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

This Weblog and the blogoshpere in general have been abuzz with controversy over Microsoft PatchGuard and issues dealing with appropriate kernel security instrumentation. This blog entry is the first of a two-part series. It provides an excerpt of a draft posting that proposes an abstract host security metasystem and laws of host security that attempt to raise the level of discourse above specific features and implementations. This blog entry will outline the sensor and effector instrumentation laws and the second blog entry, covering the security and policy component laws, will be published later this week. Symantec posted this draft to openly solicit constructive comments and helpful suggestions for draft refinements. The intent is to reach industry consensus on an architectural framework to guide designers of future host security subsystems and supporting instrumentation.

...

John Canavan | 20 Nov 2006 08:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

VB-Oct06_small.jpg

In the early part of this year, W32.Blackmal.E@mm and OSX.Leap.A received near blanket coverage from the technical media. W32.Blackmal.E@mm was a mass-mailing worm with two particular features that ensured it quickly became a focus of attention. When run, the worm would execute a Web-based php script, which was intended to function as an infection counter. Cue the daily tech-blog updates: "Clock ticking for Nyxem virus" (Slashdot), "Blackworm worm over 1.8 million infestations and climbing" (Sunbelt). Even the fancy animated .gifs of a counter shot up from 398,000 to 440,000 in seconds (F-Secure). Couple this with the fact that the worm was programmed to delete files with a number of common extensions on the third of the next month, and there's a storm a brewin': "Kama Sutra worm seduces PC users" (cnet),...

John Canavan | 20 Nov 2006 08:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

VB-Oct06_small.jpg

In the early part of this year, W32.Blackmal.E@mm and OSX.Leap.Areceived near blanket coverage from the technical media.W32.Blackmal.E@mm was a mass-mailing worm with two particular featuresthat ensured it quickly became a focus of attention. When run, the wormwould execute a Web-based php script, which was intended to function asan infection counter. Cue the daily tech-blog updates: "Clock tickingfor Nyxem virus" (Slashdot), "Blackworm worm over 1.8 millioninfestations and climbing" (Sunbelt). Even the fancy animated .gifs ofa counter shot up from 398,000 to 440,000 in seconds (F-Secure). Couplethis with the fact that the worm was programmed to delete files with anumber of common extensions on the third of the next month, and there'sa storm a brewin': "Kama Sutra worm seduces PC users" (cnet),"Countdown for Windows virus" (BBC), "Urgent...

Symantec Security Response | 17 Nov 2006 08:00:00 GMT | 0 comments

The next time you open and view a video file of the RealMedia variety (for example, an .rm or .rmvb file), be aware that you may unwittingly be allowing a Trojan to execute on your computer. When executed, a nasty threat that Symantec has dubbed Trojan.Realor scans the computer for RealMedia files and inserts a hyperlink into them. When the infected files are opened, the RealMedia player attempts to load an external Web page in the computer's default browser.

The Web site (unavailable at the time of this writing) reportedly attempts to exploit a vulnerability in one of the browser's underlying components – Microsoft Data Access Components, or "MDAC" for short. The user may only notice a seemingly harmless error message, but behind the scenes a hidden IFRAME object is loading the malicious code.

If the exploit is successful, theTrojan then searches for further RealMedia files, into which it will attempt to insert the hyperlink, and so the cycle...