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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matthew Broersma

Techworld.com
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

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?