Monday, August 15, 2011

Shady RAT is Serious Business

Ira Winkler makes some interesting points in his CIO article on Shady RAT. I tend to agree with his observation that security vendors spend too much energy infighting when we all should be facing a common enemy. It is true that Shady RAT is just one of many other, similar attacks. There is no harm in trying to draw attention to the elephant in the room - APT is a grave and serious threat to U.S. companies as well as national security. Shady RAT may appear to be 'sloppy' but it can still be APT. Within infosec the term APT has been debated - but we at HBGary have a very simple definition: if there is interaction with the host, we call it APT. Now, most of the attacks we deal with are targeting intellectual property and appear to have state sponsored underpinnings. The attackers usually leave tools behind, additional backdoors, etc., but none of these are very complex. The malware and techniques are mostly unsophisticated and sloppy, but yet they succeed and remain persistent. Our assumption on this - APT does the minimum necessary to get the job done. If they don't need hard core boot sector viruses and kernel rootkits, they aren't going to use them. We as an industry have a responsibility to protect our customers from a very serious and evolving threat. Downplaying the seriousness of this threat undermines the reason we are here.