Is anti-virus dead? - router malware

Router malware is a fascinating and sometimes obscure trend in which criminals try to winkle specially-written infectors on to the gateways most home and small business users pay almost no attention to. One example, discovered last May, is Moose, a worm which infects Linux-based routers from firms including Zyxel, Netgear and TP-Link in order to commit social network fraud (i.e. like-jacking, posting links, creating bogus accounts).

Moose’s attack simply exploits weak default credentials although exploiting known software flaws in this class of product would have been another option. The motivation was probably to create a botnet of compromised devices that could be sold to third-parties looking to boost their social media presence.

It is this type of attack that is leading both router and anti-virus companies to extend security scanning to gateway devices, normally places where detecting attacks is incredibly difficult.

Prediction: all poorly-configured routers are now fair game.

Below: ESET CEO, Richard Marko

ESET CEO, Richard Marko

Is anti-virus dead? - Apple iOS attacks

Jailbroken iOS devices are a well-understood risk but what about malware capable of attacking mainstream iPhone users? According to ESET, there is ample evidence on darkwebs that malware criminals are now devoting unprecedented resources to attacking the high-value targets that use the platform. Recent examples include YiSPecter, which exploits private APIs to attacks non-jailbroken devices, a large cache of suspicion apps Apple removed from its App Store in September and a growing list of serious security flaws affecting iOS.

Prediction: a significant Apple mobile malware attack is a matter of time.

Is anti-virus dead? - surveillance software

Surveillance programs used by police and intelligence services around the world are a grey area for some simply because, unlike malware, they are legal for use against certain kinds of target. But no anti-virus product worth its name can’t try to detect them, which has led to some tension. The makers of surveillance software see anti-virus as helping the criminals spot their software which the anti-virus makers see distinctions about legality as irrelevant – it is not the software that is legal but its deployment against specific targets. With no accountability in this sector, the potential for abuse is obvious.

Prediction: this class of software is likely to expand even if the breaking of Hacking Team underlined how easily things can go awry.

Next: tech support scams