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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

11/9/2018
01:00 PM
100%
0%

What You Should Know About Grayware (and What to Do About It)

Grayware is a tricky security problem, but there are steps you can take to defend your organization when you recognize the risk.
Previous
1 of 8
Next

Everyone has seen them: applications that come on many new systems offering services with unfamiliar names, or apps that have familiar names but are offered on sites that aren't from their publishers. They're grayware – or "potentially unwanted applications" – and they're an ongoing issue for computer security.

Grayware's nature makes it difficult for organizations to keep it away from their systems. "It's not a technical problem, it’s a classification problem. There is a thin line being malicious or not and the operators play with the line. Which limits what researchers and law enforcement can do," said Vitor Ventura, senior security researcher at Cisco Talos, in an email interview.

Some IT professionals might be tempted to ignore grayware while they focus on more obvious malware and other threats. But there are legitimate reasons not to.

"Oh, it's horrible," says Chet Wisniewski, principal research scientist at Sophos. "Not only are you getting something that's annoying to the user, it's often more than doubling the attack surface of your computer because of the additional amount of Internet-facing code that's often poor quality." That's in addition to the privacy and productivity implications of code that tracks activity and pops up unwanted ads, he says.

IT and security teams need to consider a number of factors about grayware, both in terms of what it is and how to deal with it. Without many automation option to help, response is up to a well-informed staff.

(Image: typographyimages)

 

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Analyst at Omdia, focusing on enterprise security management. Curtis has been writing about technologies and products in computing and networking since the early 1980s. He has been on staff and contributed to technology-industry publications ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Previous
1 of 8
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
peternjohnson
100%
0%
peternjohnson,
User Rank: Strategist
12/4/2018 | 9:16:04 AM
Horrible slideshow format negates taking anything serious from darkreading!
These "slideshows" are a horiible waste of time and energy, I mean what is this, facebook clickbait???

How can we download a PDF or something that is useful?

 
Commentary
Ransomware Is Not the Problem
Adam Shostack, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Technologist, Game Designer,  6/9/2021
Edge-DRsplash-11-edge-ask-the-experts
How Can I Test the Security of My Home-Office Employees' Routers?
John Bock, Senior Research Scientist,  6/7/2021
News
New Ransomware Group Claiming Connection to REvil Gang Surfaces
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  6/10/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Google's new See No Evil policy......
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
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-2021-24368
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-20
The Quiz And Survey Master – Best Quiz, Exam and Survey Plugin WordPress plugin before 7.1.18 did not sanitise or escape its result_id parameter when displaying an existing quiz result page, leading to a reflected Cross-Site Scripting issue. This c...
CVE-2021-31664
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
RIOT-OS 2021.01 before commit 44741ff99f7a71df45420635b238b9c22093647a contains a buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-33185
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS contains a buffer overflow in the set_range test in TestBitmap which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-33186
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS in test-crypto.cpp contains a stack buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-31272
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS before commit 3844e8569689dd476064a0759d704bc64fb3ca2c contains a directory traversal vulnerability in tar/unzip that may lead to command execution or privilege escalation.