04:49 PM

Schwartz On Security: Reaching The M&A Tipping Point

The jury is out on whether businesses will benefit from Intel buying McAfee or from Symantec, IBM and Microsoft sucking up everything in sight.

But there are signs that some security companies may be reaching a tipping point. On Saturday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Relational Investors LLC began building a stake in Symantec earlier this year, so as to split the company into separate security and data storage businesses. Analysts say that Symantec is still having difficulty benefiting from its 2005 acquisition of Veritas.

If the rampant pace of merger and acquisition activity threatens to create a fast food approach to information security -- ease over substance -- thankfully there's been some undeniably good news on the botnet M&A front lately: The brains behind the Zeus crimeware toolkit will reportedly retire, allowing his code to be merged with a competitor.

Zeus expert Don Jackson, director of threat intelligence at SecureWorks, recently told Reuters that the anonymous programmer behind Zeus had announced his retirement, saying his creation was taking too much heat, and that he'd hand the Zeus source code to up-and-comer financial crimeware outfit Spy Eye.

Little is known about the Zeus author, who first hit the scene in 2007, except that he appears to be Russian and to favor usernames based on expensive cars. Jackson, however, thinks the retirement announcement is a ruse so that the Zeus author can drop his less lucrative and more high-maintenance customers. He estimates that, so far this year, Zeus-using gangs have netted at least $100 million.

But other security experts noted that after you've sold enough software to earn yourself what's likely millions of dollars, then if not retire, you could afford to take a break.

With luck, one way or another, the author of Zeus will go away for a long time.

2 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: just wondering...Thanx
Current Issue
Security Operations and IT Operations: Finding the Path to Collaboration
A wide gulf has emerged between SOC and NOC teams that's keeping both of them from assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems. Here's how experts think it should be bridged.
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.