Entries by 'Jose Morales'

A New Approach to Prioritizing Malware Analysis

Malware 4 Comments »

This post is the second in a series on prioritizing malware analysis. 

By Jose Andre Morales
Researcher 
Cyber Security Solutions Division

Jose Andre Morales Every day, analysts at major anti-virus companies and research organizations are inundated with new malware samples. From Flame to lesser-known strains, figures indicate that the number of malware samples released each day continues to rise. In 2011, malware authors unleashed approximately 70,000 new strains per day, according to figures reported by Eugene Kaspersky. The following year, McAfee reported that 100,000 new strains of malware were unleashed each day. An article published in the October 2013 issue of IEEE Spectrum, updated that figure to approximately 150,000 new malware strains. Not enough manpower exists to manually address the sheer volume of new malware samples that arrive daily in analysts’ queues. In our work here at CERT, we felt that analysts needed an approach that would allow them to identify and focus first on the most destructive binary files. This blog post is a follow up of my earlier post entitled Prioritizing Malware Analysis. In this post, we describe the results of the research I conducted with fellow researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Software Engineering Institute (SEI) and CMU’s Robotics Institute highlighting our analysis that demonstrated the validity (with 98 percent accuracy) of our approach, which helps analysts distinguish between the malicious and benign nature of a binary file. 

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Prioritizing Malware Analysis

CERT , Malware 2 Comments »

By Jose Morales
Senior Member of the Technical Staff
CERT Division

Dr. Jose Morales In early 2012, a backdoor Trojan malware named Flame was discovered in the wild. When fully deployed, Flame proved very hard for malware researchers to analyze. In December of that year, Wired magazine reported that before Flame had been unleashed, samples of the malware had been lurking, undiscovered, in repositories for at least two years. As Wired also reported, this was not an isolated event. Every day, major anti-virus companies and research organizations are inundated with new malware samples. Although estimates vary, according to an article published in the October 2013 issue of IEEE Spectrum, approximately 150,000 new malware strains are released each day. Not enough manpower exists to manually address the sheer volume of new malware samples that arrive daily in analysts’ queues. Malware analysts instead need an approach that allows them to sort out samples in a fundamental way so they can assign priority to the most malicious of binary files. This blog post describes research I am conducting with fellow researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Software Engineering Institute (SEI) and CMU’s Robotics Institute.  This research is aimed at developing an approach to prioritizing malware samples in an analyst’s queue (allowing them to home in on the most destructive malware first) based on the file’s execution behavior.

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