Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

2/26/2007
07:25 AM
50%
50%

More of a Gray Area

Blacklisting's about to become passe as major AV companies look to whitelisting's potential

5:25 PM -- Will anti-malware companies convert from blacklisting to whitelisting? According to Ken Steinberg, CEO of Savant Protection, which sells hybrid whitelisting/blacklisting software, senior technologists at five top antivirus companies tell Savant they will eventually drop blacklisting for whitelisting.

"And it's going to hurt," he says of them shifting gears. (He can't name names, but he says "all the major vendors" will make the move.)

The likely suspects? That would include McAfee, Symantec, Sophos, Kaspersky, and Trend Micro, among others. Still, no one's saying and none of these vendors have given the slightest indication publicly they're headed in this direction.

Savant has made a name for itself with its hybrid, but heavily whitelisting-leaning, approach to anti-malware. Steinberg describes it as a dalmatian: "It's 90 percent whitelisting, and 10 percent blacklisting," he explains, kind of like the spotted dogs of Disney and firehouse fame.

OK, so whitelisting isn't new, nor are mixed-bag approaches to security. But Steinberg argues that blacklisting's days are numbered, and whitelisting is more efficient and effective. Whitelisting has traditionally gotten a bad rap for being labor-intensive, with massive databases of application data, but he argues that was just a client-server whitelisting solution problem. "That made analysts roll their eyes and run."

Blacklisting obviously has its weaknesses, namely that it's all about known threats and can't detect zero-day threats. But Steinberg maintains you can't drop it altogether. "Whitelisting suffers from the ability to do friend-or-foe analysis and interception," he says. "And you can mitigate the time delay problem of blacklisting by doing whitelisting in primary mode," like Savant does.

But like anything, it's not really black and white. And apparently not all major security vendors are ready to make such a drastic change in technology strategy: "One of the top 10 software companies in America is stuck in analysis paralysis -- they can't decide what to do [here]," Steinberg says. Stay tuned.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

  • Kaspersky Lab
  • McAfee Inc. (NYSE: MFE)
  • Savant Protection
  • Sophos plc
  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)
  • Trend Micro Inc.

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
    News
    FluBot Malware's Rapid Spread May Soon Hit US Phones
    Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/28/2021
    Slideshows
    7 Modern-Day Cybersecurity Realities
    Steve Zurier, Contributing Writer,  4/30/2021
    Commentary
    How to Secure Employees' Home Wi-Fi Networks
    Bert Kashyap, CEO and Co-Founder at SecureW2,  4/28/2021
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon Contest
    Current Issue
    2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
    We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
    Flash Poll
    How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
    How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
    Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2021-31755
    PUBLISHED: 2021-05-07
    An issue was discovered on Tenda AC11 devices with firmware through 02.03.01.104_CN. A stack buffer overflow vulnerability in /goform/setmac allows attackers to execute arbitrary code on the system via a crafted post request.
    CVE-2021-31756
    PUBLISHED: 2021-05-07
    An issue was discovered on Tenda AC11 devices with firmware through 02.03.01.104_CN. A stack buffer overflow vulnerability in /gofrom/setwanType allows attackers to execute arbitrary code on the system via a crafted post request. This occurs when input vector controlled by malicious attack get copie...
    CVE-2021-31757
    PUBLISHED: 2021-05-07
    An issue was discovered on Tenda AC11 devices with firmware through 02.03.01.104_CN. A stack buffer overflow vulnerability in /goform/setVLAN allows attackers to execute arbitrary code on the system via a crafted post request.
    CVE-2021-31758
    PUBLISHED: 2021-05-07
    An issue was discovered on Tenda AC11 devices with firmware through 02.03.01.104_CN. A stack buffer overflow vulnerability in /goform/setportList allows attackers to execute arbitrary code on the system via a crafted post request.
    CVE-2021-31458
    PUBLISHED: 2021-05-07
    This vulnerability allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on affected installations of Foxit Reader 10.1.1.37576. User interaction is required to exploit this vulnerability in that the target must visit a malicious page or open a malicious file. The specific flaw exists within the handlin...