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December 2010

Customized malware programs require new response, experts say

When investigators at Trustwave's SpiderLabs forensics team responded to a breach at an international VoIP provider earlier this year, the conditions they found at the provider's data center were appalling to say the least. Servers containing data on 80,000 customers were located in a rundown barn. To make matters worse, the investigators had to endure the odor from about 20 farm cats living among the equipment. The third-party hosting service looked professional; its website boasted of hundreds of customers and even included pictures of a hardened data center. The VoIP provider was the target of customized malware -- a rootkit -- which took advantage of the hosting service's weaknesses. The VoIP provider realized it had a problem only after customer complaints came pouring in -- months after the malware did what it was designed to do. The cybercriminals were long gone, says Jibran Ilyas, a senior security consultant for Spiderlabs. Customized malware is a growing problem, he says. Poor network configurations, shoddily deployed ...

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