In-depth

Q&A: Gerhard Eschelbeck, chief technology officer at Webroot

We spoke to the chief technology officer of one of InfoSecurity 2010’s main sponsors to find out more about the rise of malware in 2010.

Everyone has seen the reports and read the studies; malware is on the rise and the battle is on to fight against it and keep business networks clean from infections.

However, malware is always evolving and finding new ways to infiltrate our systems so the security industry has to be hot on its heels.

We spoke to the chief technology officer (CTO) of Webroot at InfoSecurity 2010 to find out what he sees going on in this cyber criminal industry and how companies can move forward to battle against it.

What sort of trends have you been seeing when it comes to malware?

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The threat landscape continuously evolves. I have been doing this for over 15 years [and] it has never been a boring day. There is always something new, something interesting that the bad guys are looking at doing.

But there are two main things that are going on at the moment. The first thing is technical sophistication of malware is increasing, so that means malware is getting more and more stealthy, undetectable and very difficult to find which is the goal of malware.

The second big trend that we are seeing is the type of distribution mechanism. Now social networking for example is a very [prevalent] distribution vector by taking advantage of the trust relationships.

If I am on Facebook and I have 150 friends, my friends are trusting whatever I am sending them. But if somebody takes advantage of my account and sends messages on behalf of myself that are malicious sites, then all my 150 friends are being tricked into malware. So that trust factor within the social networking scenery is really taking advantage today by the bad guys. That is a big challenge for corporations.

Is regional malware still strong?

Malware is usually language dependent. For obvious reasons English speaking malware is the most distributed, but you see regionalised areas like Japan, [malware] very specifically targeting Japanese companies and not happening anywhere else.

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The same is true for China, Korea and those countries. There is some German and French speaking malware as well but the dominant pieces of malware are English, it's just the biggest reach.

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