The perfect attack against your security?

Summary:A socially engineered e-mail, which contains a Trojan file that exploits a zero-day vulnerability and then hides behind a rootkit, might be the perfect attack and impossible to defend against.

A socially engineered e-mail, which contains a Trojan file that exploits a zero-day vulnerability and then hides behind a rootkit, might be the perfect attack and impossible to defend against.

Patrick Runald, senior security specialist at Finnish antivirus firm F-Secure last week told me that some users are obliged to open certain documents as part of their job -- so no amount of education can stop such an attack.

For example, if an HR director receives a CV, what is he supposed to do?

"Even if you know a lot about computers and you know you shouldn't open all attachments, if you receive a document file and it looks valid, it contains something about your work, you are obliged to open it.

"And then it contains a zero-day exploit and will install a Trojan onto your system, typically hidden by a rootkit, which makes it very difficult to detect with an antivirus program," Runald told me in a video interview last week.

When asked how companies can defend against social engineering, he said it was a "difficult" problem.

"You have to install patches -- that is what you have to do," added Runald.

Another problem here is that simply by writing this, am I helping the bad guys or the rest of us -- so we know what we are facing?

This is really scary -- suggestions anyone?

Topics: Malware, Security

About

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.Munir was recognised as Austr... Full Bio

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