Closing a malware security loophole

December 07, 2015

An add-on for antivirus software that can scan across a computer network and trap malicious activity missed by the system firewall is being developed by an international team. Details are reported in the International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics. The research raises the issue that the developers of both operating systems and antivirus software must work more closely together to reduce the burden of malware on computer systems the world over.

The battle between malware authors and security researchers has changed dramatically in the last few years. The purpose behind malware was often for the sake of a prank, to expose vulnerabilities or for the sake of spite. Today, malware is more about stealing sensitive data and exploiting information for fraud, identity theft and other criminal intent. In addition, much malware is aimed at breaking systems through denial-of-service (DoS) attacks in the name of espionage, whether industrial or political or for "hacktivism", whereby activists prevent legitimate users from accessing a site they see as the enemy to their cause.

Computer security systems that attempt to thwart the spread of malicious software, malware, often fall down at one of two points of failure. The first being the failure of the network to spot malicious data packets entering the system. The second is that once the network is breached, the antivirus software, which is the last line of network defense fails to identify the software intruder as malicious. Now, researchers in Jordan and the USA have devised an antivirus add-on that allows the AV software to scan the network data as well as applications and so trap malicious activity that the firewall and other defenses that work at the network have missed.

The system devised by computer scientists Mohammed Al-Saleh of Jordan University of Science and Technology in Irbid and Bilal Shebaro of St. Edward's University, Austin, Texas, side-steps the problem of additional computing overheads placed on a network attempting to detect the spread of malware that may well be encrypted and avoids the issue of antivirus software becoming out-of-date the instant new malware is written and uploaded and the inevitable vulnerability that occurs during the AV scanning process.

The team's tests demonstrate that their prototype security system add-on can detect the spread of malware to a computer and block it before it is able to do anything malicious or make a copy of itself to send to other machines on the network. The system adds little computing overhead. "Together with the existing network-based anti-malware software, our solution will offer client machines better protection that has no significant overhead on the protected system," the team reports.
-end-
Al-Saleh, M.I. and Shebaro, B. (2016) 'Enhancing malware detection: clients deserve more protection', Int. J. Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, Vol. 8, No. 1, pp.1-16.

Inderscience Publishers

Related Malware Articles from Brightsurf:

No honor among cyber thieves
A backstabbing crime boss and thousands of people looking for free tutorials on hacking and identity theft were two of the more interesting findings of a study examining user activity on two online 'carding forums,' illegal sites that specialize in stolen credit card information.

Browser tool aims to help researchers ID malicious websites, code
Researchers have developed an open-source tool that allows users to track and record the behavior of JavaScript programs without alerting the websites that run those programs.

Tech companies not doing enough to protect users from phishing scams
Just over 15 years after the first reported incident of phishing, new research from the University of Plymouth suggests tech companies could be doing more to protect users from the threat of scams.

New computer attack mimics user's keystroke characteristics and evades detection, according to Ben-Gurion University cyber researchers
'Our proposed detection modules are trusted and secured, based on information that can be measured from side-channel resources, in addition to data transmission,' Farhi says.

Illinois researchers add 'time-travel' feature to drives to fight ransomware attacks
One of the latest cyber threats involves hackers encrypting user files and then charging ''ransom'' to get them back.

Design flaws create security vulnerabilities for 'smart home' internet-of-things devices
NC State researchers find countermeasures for designers of security systems and other smart home devices.

New technique uses power anomalies to ID malware in embedded systems
Researchers have developed a technique for detecting types of malware that use a system's architecture to thwart traditional security measures.

How a personality trait puts you at risk for cybercrime
Impulse online shopping, downloading music and compulsive email use are all signs of a certain personality trait that make you a target for malware attacks.

Research finds bots and Russian trolls influenced vaccine discussion on Twitter
Social media bots and Russian trolls promoted discord and spread false information about vaccines on Twitter using tactics similar to those at work during the 2016 United States presidential election, according to new research led by the George Washington University.

New malicious email detection method that outperforms 60 antivirus engines -- Ben-Gurion
They compared their detection model to 60 industry-leading antivirus engines as well as previous research, and found their system outperformed the next best antivirus engine by 13 percent -- significantly better than such products including Kaspersky, MacAfee and Avast.

Read More: Malware News and Malware Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.