Risk

New Tool Allows Websites To Keep Serving Pages After Infection

"Mod_antimalware" strips out malware instead of blocking infected pages, Black Hat presenter says

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- Black Hat USA 2010 -- When Web pages are infected with malicious code, the current security practice is to block the entire page and warn users not to go there. But what if the infected page is on a legitimate site that needs that page up in order to do business?

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In a presentation here Wednesday, a Black Hat speaker proposed a new technology that strips out malware from infected Web pages, effectively allowing sites to continue to serve Web content even after a page has been infected.

The new "mod_antimalware" Web server module, which is outlined in a white paper at Black Hat, is designed to work in conjunction with Dasient's Web Anti-Malware monitoring service to recognize malware by its behavior on a website, says Neil Daswani, CTO of upstart security vendor Dasient and co-author of the paper.

"When a PC gets infected with malware, you don't tell the user to stop using it," Daswani says. "But that's basically what happens to Web pages that get infected -- the whole page is blocked, and your site may even be blacklisted, all because one element on one page is infected."

Mod_antimalware monitors Websites for malicious behavior, such as redirecting users to other sites or attempting to download Trojan horses, Daswani explains. It then identifies the code that instigated the malicious behavior and strips it off the page, allowing the rest of the Web content to continue being served safely.

While mod-antimalware is Dasient's commercial product, the company also is offering an open-source version that is also capable of recognizing the malicious behavior. The open-source version does not strip out the bad code, but it notifies the site operator so that the page can be modified or disinfected before it is blocked or blacklisted, Daswani says.

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Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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