Standards body the IEEE has launched two new anti-malware initiatives designed to help software and security vendors spot malware that's been inserted into other software, and improve the performance of malware detection by cutting down on false positives.
Anti-Malware Support Service (AMSS) is designed to fight back against
malware authors who hijack software from legitimate vendors, and also
wants to help mitigate the spread and impact of malware.
There are two components of the service: a Clean file Metadata eXchange (CMX) and the Taggant system.
lets software publishers create and publish the metadata of an
application at the time of final build. That way, if a malware author
takes the “real” program and modifies it to carry malware, it's easier
to detect, while at the same time hopefully reducing the number of false
positives reported by anti-virus software.
The metadata would
include hashes (like MD5, SHA-1 or SHA-256) of the final-build software,
the installed filename of a program, its destination path, digital
signature data (if used) and file version information.
vendors will be invited to take part, while others will be able to
submit the metadata with a Class 3 code signing certificate. The program
will also allow vetted organisations to provide metadata for third
parties. The program is being hosted at Avira in Germany, which will provide the metadata to registered users.
users of the CMX – those wanting to validate software against the
system, including anti-malware vendors – CMX Consumer membership is
$US8,000 a year.
The Taggat System “places a cryptographically
secure marker in the packed and obfuscated files created by commercial
software distribution packaging programs (packers).”
software packer vendors (SPVs, who provide commercial software
obfuscation and packing programs) and software security vendors, Taggant
identifies packer user's license key that's been used to create an
instance of packed malware.
Future files that match the packer user will be marked as suspicious and the user blacklisted.
Back in 2009, the IEEE created
a multi-vendor alliance designed to improve the sharing of malware
between outfits like McAfee, AVG, Sophos, Symantec and Trend Micro.