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January/February 2012

Ranum chat: APT attacks and malware evolution

Marcus Ranum: Joel, I'm sure you know we can't get through this without talking about advanced persistent threats (APT) and malware. What's your take on that topic? I know you're a real malware maven; are there different levels of the state of the art in malware? Is malware evolution slow, or rapid? What's going on out there? Joel Yonts: Marcus, just the mention of the term advanced persistent threat (APT) has such an impact on practitioners in our field. As you know, these reactions vary from sheer terror to the extreme skeptic that says APT is a term invented by marketers to sell more gear. Since the term is so inflammatory, I will reserve my thoughts on that topic for a moment and focus on the malware problem. Malware  comes in many levels of sophistication. On one end of the spectrum, we have malware that can shut down a nuclear facility (Stuxnet) by reprogramming low-level controls. On the other end of the spectrum, I received a malicious spam attachment the other day that had a poorly constructed executable that after ...

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