Getting a Look Inside Malware Distribution Networks

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Top 10 Computer Malware Programs

Old security holes are becoming increasingly popular among online criminals.

The general perception of IT security these days is that IT organizations are pitted against thousands of cyber criminals with unlimited resources. As a result, morale among IT organizations when it comes to IT security appears to be falling.

But new research from Blue Coat Systems suggests that perhaps there are not as many cyber bad guys as many might think. While there seems to be no end to the number of domains from which malware emanates from, the 2011 mid-year security report from Blue Coat indicates that there is a relationship between more of these domains that is not initially apparent.

According to Tom Clare, director of product marketing at Blue Coat, the company's research shows that there is strong evidence that cyber criminals are sharing IT resources such as botnets and malware delivery networks. Whether that means they are just "renting" these facilities or actively cooperating with each other is hard to discern. But Clare says it does mean that identifying the sources of malware on the Internet should become easier as more of the relationships between the sources of malware are determined.

Whether such information will ultimately lead to more proactive efforts to take down these networks is doubtful because of the time and effort required to accomplish such an endeavor. But Clare says that as security vendors get a better understanding of what's happening internally on malware distribution networks, the more effective they can be in terms of combating the attacks emanating from them.

That, of course, may be cold comfort for those who have been the subject of malware attacks. But as with all things related to security, hope springs eternal.

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