ThreatSTOP has a number of universities and places of higher education as clients and, it turns out, there's a good reason for this. That reason is 'Academic Freedom' and the possibly unintended consequences of that on computers and networks.Read More
Over at ZDnet Ed Bott has a report on the ineffectiveness of anti-vrus tools against current malware where he notes that many AV vendors only detect it a day or two after it has been distributed and that by then a new variant that they don't detect has also been sent out. In the IT security space, this is not exactly new news. In fact here at ThreatSTOP, we've been using similar statistics in our sales pitch for about a year now and in fact the AV vendors themselves admit they have a problem. If you ask them in private that is.Read More
Since ThreatSTOP is an IP Reputation company, we naturally have a google news feed on the topic of 'IP reputation'. Today, for some reason, it provided a link to the IP reputation page of the firewall vendor SonicWALL. Naturally I had to test the page out to see how well it did. I picked the 4 addresses currently listed on our home page as being the "worst of the web":Read More
Over the last couple of days, Brian Krebs has reported about ACH fraud that is driven by ZeuS and SpyEye trojans/bots. Although the case law is limited it seems like banks have little or no liability if a trojan steals bank login details and, as a result, an organization's bank account is emptied.Read More
As anyone who reads the technical, financial or even the general news is aware, May has not been a good month for Internet security. We started with Sony which appears to have been comprehensively "PWNed" by one of more groups of criminals and we end up with the news of Lockheed and PBS joining the list of victims. Needless to say these news reports have led to a lot of our customers (and potential customers) asking whether ThreatSTOP's IP Reputation can save them.Read More
ThreatSTOP just updated our Vyatta install script to fully support the latest Vyatta version: 6.2. The new script is backwardly compatible to earlier Vyatta versions however an upgrade is not required for earlier versions of Vyatta. This is just a part of our ongoing Vyatta relationship to fight bots and criminal malware - as mentioned in this press release that came out today. The combination of ThreatSTOP and Vyatta provdes an extremely cost effective method of stopping bots calling home and blocking the servers that deliver bots and other malware that may be used either as a standalone solution or as a method to augment an existing firewall.Read More
Thanks to an email from one of the folks evaluating ThreatSTOP, I did a quick comparison check to see how much quicker ThreatSTOP is to report bad IP addresses. This is very important as new, unknown IP addresses, can wreak havoc until they are tracked down.
A brief aside: once an IP address becomes known as, say, a botnet C&C host it will start to get blocked. In fact we quite often see IP addresses fall down the slippery slope of recividism. First they start out as malware droppers or C&C hosts, then they become phishing sites or spammers, finally they become recon bots searching for open ports and vulnerabilities in servers. The key to this progression is that the IP address gradually becomes better known as bad and that the things it does first, when it is unknown, are the most dangerous to the Internet. Hence the quicker they are picked up the quicker people can protect against them.
So, getting back to the responsiveness question. Our evaluator compared us to McAfee's Trusted Source (which is BTW an awesome resource) and noted that we appeared to report IP addresses faster. That is to say we'd report an IP address as bad and then some time later Trusted Source would also report it as bad. Well this was something that needed a bit of confirmation so I took our current list of the botnet C&C hosts and compared it with the list from 24 hours earlier. Of the 1911 ip addresses currently in that feed 44 were new (I'll append the list to this post) and I checked all 44 with Trusted Source.
16 were either 'unverified' or 'minimal risk' for both web and email.
12 were listed as bad for email but either 'unverified' or 'minimal risk' for web
6 were listed as bad for web but either 'unverified' or 'minimal risk' for email
10 were listed as bad for both web and email.
Of the 22 that were listed as bad for email and hence could be assumed to have history, ThreatSTOP knew about half (13) as being definitively bad and 11 we had no knowledge of other than as botnet C&C. However I'm unclear about the accuracy of McAfee's Email rating since a number of those (in fact it was probably all 11 but I gave up checking) had no email data graphs of history so it seems likely that the email report was as fresh as the the botnet one and probably related.
Finally I did a sample of the 41 that were between 24 and 48 hours old and McAfee's Trusted Source appeared to know about almost all of them as bad for web. That is to be expected.
So to recap. 44 new addresses in 24 hours of the most dangerous sorts on the Internet - that is botnet C&C hosts. Of those ThreatSTOP in fact already knew of 11 as did McAfee. We were blocking 16 that McAfee had no idea of. We blocked 6 at about the same time that McAfee knew about them and 11 more may have been known by McAfee first, but not necessarily as botnet C&Cs.
I imagine I'll run this test again in a week or two to confirm this finding but it looks like yes ThreatSTOP is faster to identify bad IP addresses, and since they get automatically downloaded onto our subscriber's firewalls, far faster to provide protection against bots calling home with stolen data.
This is a follow up to the previous post where we noted the emergence of a new 'conficker'-like threat. Thanks to research by our colleagues at Shadowserver it looks like the threat is actually more closely related to the Waledac/Storm worm malware rather than conficker, however that does not stop us from blocking it.Read More
I volunteered to give a talk to the University of Cambridge Computer Lab yesterday. The talk was about how different countries "specialize" in different sorts of malware - or, to be slightly more accurate, show up in our database from different feeds.Read More