RealNews

To Trap a Superworm

The Slammer worm’s ability to spread so rapidly adds a frightfully new dimension to the species. Does Stuart Staniford have the cure? Fear the superworms. They’re coming, and you can’t escape. All you can do is contain the damage. That’s the message Stuart Staniford has for the computer-security world. A co-founder of information-security company Silicon Defense in Eureka, Calif., Staniford has studied worms for many years as a respected researcher and innovator in the arena of intrustion detection. Such systems can help network administrators spot intrusions and prevent damage or security breaches to linked computers at corporations, universities, and government agencies. Some past worms such as CodeRed and Nimda have proven to be notable nuisances to network administrators. A worm is a small program that contains code for self-replication using unprotectd computers tied together over networks. Worms usually do bad things, such as using up a computer’s processing resources, crashing systems, and possibly inserting spyware that can later be accessed to remotely control a compromised network. According to Staniford, though, the so-called Slammer worm that was unleashed on Jan. 24 heralds a new and difficult era of blazingly fast-spreading worms. And he claims Silicon Defense has devised a useful way to protect against them. On Feb. 24 it rolled out a hardware device dubbed CounterMalice, which aims to stop superworms by segmenting computer networks into compartments and monitoring each compartment for infections. If CounterMalice spots signs of an infection, it can isolate the offending compartments, like a ship commander sealing watertight doors to contain the damage on a leaking vessel. Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

OODA is comprised of a unique team of international experts capable of providing advanced intelligence and analysis, strategy and planning support, risk and threat management, training, decision support, crisis response, and security services to global corporations and governments.