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.

Perimeter

9/24/2010
05:15 AM
Commentary
Commentary
Commentary
50%
50%

'Here You Have' A Lesson

It's been interchangeably called spam, or a targeted attack that spun out of control, or a form of cyber-jihad with alleged geopolitical implications. But regardless of what you call it, the "Here You Have" email worm is an excellent example of just how well today's security can work. Here are a few justifications for that optimism.

It's been interchangeably called spam, or a targeted attack that spun out of control, or a form of cyber-jihad with alleged geopolitical implications. But regardless of what you call it, the "Here You Have" email worm is an excellent example of just how well today's security can work. Here are a few justifications for that optimism.1. The security community is nimble. The server hosting the malicious download was shut down within just a few hours of the worm's initial spread. With no ability to infect new victim machines, the email component quickly self-destructed. As a result, 79% of the attempted click-throughs happened within the first three hours of the worm's initial propagation.

2. Proper heuristics do work. Some vendors -- including Cisco -- successfully identified and blocked the worm from the very beginning, no signatures required.

3. The majority of users have learned not to click on unexpected links. In the end, the "Here You Have" email accounted for only 0.3% of Web-delivered malware during a 30-day period. And from a vertical perspective, all industry employees clicked through at the same median rate. Indeed, month over month message-driven social engineering attacks collectively account for only 3% of Web-delivered malware; "Here You Have" didn't nudge this volume.

Despite this, many failed to accurately contextualize the threat posed by the "Here You Have" email and made it seem bigger than it was. As a result, reports of the worm far surpassed the actual spread of the worm itself --- even making national news broadcasts in the U.S.

So why is overstating the risk posed by a particular bit of malware a bad idea? After all, if it promotes security awareness, that's a good thing, right? Maybe not. One problem is that it causes many to equate all malware with something that is highly visible and garners massive amounts of attention. Yet it's the down-and-low, under-the-radar threats that are far more insidious.

Perhaps worse, positioning a threat as more widespread than it really is lends the impression that none of our security controls are working. And that's unfortunate. Because as we can see from the "Here You Have" example, the proper security controls do work -- even for that 99.7% of attacks that don't make the 6 o'clock news.

Mary Landesman is an antivirus professional and senior security researcher for ScanSafe, now part of Cisco. In 2009 she was awarded a Microsoft MVP for her work in consumer security.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 5/28/2020
Stay-at-Home Orders Coincide With Massive DNS Surge
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/27/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Can you smell me now?
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-11844
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
There is an Incorrect Authorization vulnerability in Micro Focus Service Management Automation (SMA) product affecting version 2018.05 to 2020.02. The vulnerability could be exploited to provide unauthorized access to the Container Deployment Foundation.
CVE-2020-6937
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
A Denial of Service vulnerability in MuleSoft Mule CE/EE 3.8.x, 3.9.x, and 4.x released before April 7, 2020, could allow remote attackers to submit data which can lead to resource exhaustion.
CVE-2020-7648
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
All versions of snyk-broker before 4.72.2 are vulnerable to Arbitrary File Read. It allows arbitrary file reads for users who have access to Snyk's internal network by appending the URL with a fragment identifier and a whitelisted path e.g. `#package.json`
CVE-2020-7650
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
All versions of snyk-broker after 4.72.0 including and before 4.73.1 are vulnerable to Arbitrary File Read. It allows arbitrary file reads to users with access to Snyk's internal network of any files ending in the following extensions: yaml, yml or json.
CVE-2020-7654
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-29
All versions of snyk-broker before 4.73.1 are vulnerable to Information Exposure. It logs private keys if logging level is set to DEBUG.