Old worm Slammer threatens again

The security industry is now witnessing a snowball effect, where threats are accumulating at an "exponential" rate, and it isn't really possible to eradicate any of those threats.

An old worm known as Slammer, which originated back in January 2003, is still going strong according to Gunter Ollmann, director of security strategy at IBM's Internet Security Systems (IBM ISS).

Ollmann, the author of the white paper "Old threats never die", says that Slammer is still the threat most commonly encountered by IBM ISS.

But it isn't just high-profile vulnerabilities and malware that are a problem, Ollmann said. In effect, the security industry is now witnessing a snowball effect, where threats are accumulating at an "exponential" rate, and it isn't really possible to eradicate any of those threats.

"Organizations need to be aware that old threats never actually retire from the digital landscape," Ollmann wrote in the white paper. "Rather, they tend to become background noise on the Internet -- ready to burst into life with each new software update, host recovery, device deployment or embedded system release."

The problem is that many of the protection mechanisms companies rely on, like signature-based security software, are no longer able to keep up with the rate at which new threats are appearing.

That's worsened by the fact that whenever security firms retire older signatures, they open a hole through which old attacks can instantly reappear, Ollmann said.

"Antivirus systems can handle tens of thousands of new signatures without blinking, but after a few hundred thousand they begin to struggle a bit," he wrote in a blog post this week. "Now, with several hundred thousand new virus strains each year (and increasing faster than Moore's Law), things are getting pretty creaky."

Security vendors are at a disadvantage, because it costs nothing for attackers to append the latest exploit to their attack systems, keeping all the old attack methods in place as well, Ollmann said.

"The consequences for all of us are that old exploits (and the threats they represent) will never disappear -- and there continues to be a steady supply of hosts vulnerable to flaws for which patches have existed for half a decade," he wrote in the blog post.

IBM ISS advised companies to think twice about retiring their old, creaking protection systems, but instead to evaluate more efficient protection models such as heuristic engines.

"Instead of a one-for-one signature protection model, more advanced heuristic engines can be used to protect the entire threat class," Ollmann wrote in the white paper.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matthew Broersma

Techworld.com
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?