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Vulnerabilities / Threats

3/8/2012
05:54 PM
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Malware Advancing Faster Than Companies Can Analyze It

Only 17 percent catch malware targeting their organizations, new survey by Forrest Anderson Research and commissioned by Norman ASA finds

IT is worried: More than half of IT leaders say malware sophistication is outpacing their ability to analyze it.

A new study conducted by Forrest Anderson Research and commissioned by Norman ASA found that 62 percent of IT pros have this concern, while 58 percent say their biggest worry is the growing number of threats.

Some 65 percent say they expect the number of malware threats to grow by more than 25 percent this year. The bad news is that they aren't catching targeted malware attacks, either: Only 17 percent say they do so. Meanwhile, only 45 percent say their security budgets for malware defense will increase this year, and 33 percent plan to add malware analysts to their teams. Only about half expect this expertise to be easy to find, however.

Darin Andersen, vice president and general manager, North America, for Norman, says this shows that a high percentage of IT feels like they are "behind the eight ball."

"This is a sophisticated audience of IT leaders that were surveyed, yet they are quite concerned that they can't upgrade their analysis capabilities fast enough and that they don't have enough analysts in place," Andersen says. "One in four lack the technology to analyze all of the malware threats coming their way."

Around 52 percent say they will add a commercial malware analysis tool to their internally developed ones, and 71 percent say they will do so because the internal apps are so high-maintenance. Some 54 percent already use both internally developed and commercial malware analysis tools.

"Malware analysis is a critical feedback loop to better educate how to prevent against future attacks," Andersen says. "If there's one thing that's surprising here [in the survey], it's that most companies are thinking about this."

Around 35 percent of the respondents say they purchased a commercial tool for cost-effective reasons, and 35 percent say they did so because of the increasing number of malware samples they are analyzing.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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ANON1250191116861
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ANON1250191116861,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/14/2012 | 12:22:43 AM
re: Malware Advancing Faster Than Companies Can Analyze It
Umm...- yes, Faster Than "Companies" Can Analyze.- It's already pretty interesting and about time viruses in general have come to meet SOME of my theories for-computer viruses in general,-while I was sitting in Calculus class back in high school in the 90's when most computers were not even connected to the Internet and those that were, simply used Dial-up Internet.
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As an Artificial Intelligence software developer, all the "work" that is needed for an anti-virus (malware / spyware / adware / whatever-ware) is simply defining certain conditions that are legitimate software behavior.- There's also the statstical analysis part that can zero in on the unlikely.- A.I. can quickly see things humans may take forever to realize or may not realize at all!
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Automatically determining a "computer virus" would be a bit more difficult than automatically determining "spam" (email), but it is still possible.- I'm not going to say "how" and give clues to virus writters.-
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If an analyst ONLY looks at a computer to analyze viruses and their patterns.... FAIL!- Also, one's perceptions are weak if they don't even realize there's several CyberWars in progress.- And if one is pro-China, that doesn't help either.
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Ok... here's an easy tip: Analysts with an IQ of 160+ or have college degrees with an average GPA of-4.0 or above will definitely speed solutions delivery.- ;-)- And if a company already has a "brain system" that can analyze on top of its own analysis, there wouldn't be too big of-a problem combating malware / spyware / adware.
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My final tip here...- Can a computer in a business network be pinged from outside the network?- If so, there's a problem right there in the form of a "tip of the ice berg" problem.
Bprince
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Bprince,
User Rank: Ninja
3/11/2012 | 4:56:50 PM
re: Malware Advancing Faster Than Companies Can Analyze It
17 percent sounds pretty low to me. I'm a little skeptical of that stat.
Brian Prince, InformationWeek/Dark Reading Comment Moderator
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