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.


Tool IDs Hidden Malware

New software could make it easier for administrators to find malware needles in file haystacks

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Black Hat DC -- A security software vendor is close to rolling out a new tool that will help IT staffers identify malware -- even when the attacker has taken pains to hide it in packed files.

In a presentation here at the Black Hat conference yesterday, officials from Mandiant -- a professional services firm and incident response software maker -- demonstrated an as-yet-unannounced tool that can identify malware even after it has been "packed" to avoid detection.

Packing -- the compression of data files to speed transmission over a network -- is becoming an increasingly popular method for slipping malware past antivirus applications and other tools that detect suspicious files, noted Mandiant's Chad McMillan, who demonstrated the new tool.

By placing malware among multiple "zipped" files in a transmission, packing enables malware authors to hide their attachments in a larger envelope that carries a new filename -- one not recognized by the antivirus software. "It can be a pretty effective way to armor malware," McMillan said.

To counter packed malware, Mandiant has developed Caprica Six, a software program that can read the headers of packed (PE) files and scan for anomalies that might indicate the presence of malware. "It looks for things like incorrect image size, unaligned sections, non-ASCII section names, and overlapping headers, then flags them," McMillan said.

Caprica Six also can search packed sections for malware signatures, helping security staffers to identify "fake code" that may be used to camouflage malicious programs, McMillan stated.

The new product won't identify malware with perfect accuracy, but it will kick out suspicious files and code so that a human can investigate them further, McMillan said. "Instead of looking through thousands of files, you might have eight or nine."

The Mandiant presenters did not say when the new software will be available or how much it will cost. "We expect to have it ready soon," McMillan said.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

  • Mandiant 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

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    Attackers Leave Stolen Credentials Searchable on Google
    Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/21/2021
    How to Better Secure Your Microsoft 365 Environment
    Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/25/2021
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Cartoon Contest
    Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
    Latest Comment: We need more votes, check the obituaries.
    Current Issue
    2020: The Year in Security
    Download this Tech Digest for a look at the biggest security stories that - so far - have shaped a very strange and stressful year.
    Flash Poll
    Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
    Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
    COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise -- and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    PUBLISHED: 2021-01-26
    KLog Server through 2.4.1 allows authenticated command injection. async.php calls shell_exec() on the original value of the source parameter.
    PUBLISHED: 2021-01-26
    The ftpd gem 0.2.1 for Ruby allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary OS commands via shell metacharacters in a LIST or NLST command argument within FTP protocol traffic.
    PUBLISHED: 2021-01-26
    SmartAgent 3.1.0 allows a ViewOnly attacker to create a SuperUser account via the /#/CampaignManager/users URI.
    PUBLISHED: 2021-01-26
    NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier Series, Jetson Xavier NX, TX1, TX2, Nano and Nano 2GB, L4T versions prior to 32.5, contains a vulnerability in the apply_binaries.sh script used to install NVIDIA components into the root file system image, in which improper access control is applied, which may lead to an un...
    PUBLISHED: 2021-01-26
    NVIDIA Tegra kernel in Jetson AGX Xavier Series, Jetson Xavier NX, TX1, TX2, Nano and Nano 2GB, all L4T versions prior to r32.5, contains a vulnerability in the INA3221 driver in which improper access control may lead to unauthorized users gaining access to system power usage data, which may lead to...