San Francisco, CA (PressExposure) April 17, 2009 -- FireEye, Inc., the leader in global anti-malware and anti-botnet protection, today outlined a series of steps that individuals and organizations can take in the continuing battle against stealth malware and botnets. Current statistics vary, but estimates indicate that anywhere from 50 to 200 million systems worldwide are infected with stealth malware. Several cyber criminals have already been convicted of running widespread botnets of up to 100,000 machines. And as the global Conficker botnet epidemic continues to evolve and potential negative ramifications become clearer, it is more important than ever for employing consistent and proactive malware security measures.
FireEyeâs Malware Intelligence Lab makes the following recommendations:
1) Start with the basics: make sure to regularly patch operating systems, keep antivirus up-to-date, and tighten up firewall policies to block unwanted traffic from entering and leaving your network. For example users should consider blocking port 25 for both incoming and outgoing traffic, with the exception of mail server traffic.
2) Run checks for infection symptoms such as out-of-date machines: a clear sign that a system may have stealth malware is when machines stop connecting to get antivirus (AV) updates or Microsoft Windows updates. If there is an internal server for AV definitions/DAT files, check the logs (sorted by IP address) for a typical update window and see which active IP addresses seem to be missing.
3) Review gateway logs to uncover existing issues: by blocking outbound port 25, firewall logs may be able to uncover already infected machines used to spam out of your network. Other things to keep an eye out for include internal IP addresses making unusual numbers of DNS queries, MX lookups, and .cn, .info, and .ru lookups. These are signs of botnet command & control (C&C) server communications.
4) Set-up automated, transparent network monitoring: there are new solutions on the market that analyze inbound traffic for malware and outbound traffic for unauthorized C&C server communications. Techniques such as dark IP honeypots are also another option to place 'victim' machines on the IP addresses you do not currently use and see if they get attacked.
âCyber criminals are relentless in their activities, and are continually fine-tuning their malware and botnets to have an impact on the greatest number of systems possible,â said Alex Lanstein, senior security researcher at FireEye. âFrom outright theft of data to abuse of computing resources, cyber criminals use an array of schemes to infect PCs with stealth malware, and then abuse them to send spam email, spread more malware, steal data, or even attack other networks and computer systems. Both individuals and organizations need to incorporate consistent and proactive steps to minimize the damage of data breaches due to malware. Stealth malware is an invasive element seeking to profit from illegal access into a network.â
For the latest updates on malware and botnet research, visit the FireEye Malware Intelligence Labâs blog at http://blog.fireeye.com/.