Bots, Zeus, Web Exploits: the Most Potent Threats of 2012

Every year it seems that security-related news advances further from its roots in national security circles, IT departments, and the antivirus industry into the mainstream consciousness. From July to the end of year was no exception. However, despite a handful of flashy security stories, F-Secure claims that the second half of 2012 was really about things that rarely (if ever) come up in local and national news: botnets, ZeroAccess in particular, Java and other Web exploits, and the ubiquitous Zeus banking Trojan.

Tool Aids in Cracking Mysterious Gauss Malware Encryption

The mystery wrapped inside a riddle that is the Gauss malware’s encryption scheme may be closer to falling. Late last week, researcher Jens Steube, known as Atom, put the wraps on a tool that should bring experts closer to breaking open the encryption surrounding the espionage malware’s payload.

Information systems and algorithms designed to personalize online search results will give attackers the ability to influence the information available to their victims in the coming years. Researchers, in turn, must seek ways to fortify these systems against malicious manipulation, according to the Emerging Cyber Threats Report 2013 [PDF], a report released ahead of yesterday’s Georgia Tech Cyber Security Summit 2012.

One of three previously unseen pieces of malware discovered during forensic analysis of the Flame malware command-and-control servers has been identified as a secondary surveillance tool deployed against specially identified targets, and only after an initial Flame or Gauss compromise, researchers said today.

Keeping track of the relationships between various malware families can be hard, especially when you’re talking about espionage tools such as Stuxnet and Gauss. Veracode has put together an infographic as a general recap of the life and times of Stuxnet, the much-discussed cyber worm that first reared its head in mid-2010 after it was found targeting critical infrastructure in Iran. Despite Siemens patching some Stuxnet-like bugs late last month, it’s been a while since we’ve heard from the computer worm. Lately the spotlight has been stolen by a series of Stuxnet descendants such as Duqu, Flame and just revealed yesterday, Gauss.

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