Virus Bulletin Conference Papers (6-7)

Virus Bulletin Conference 2008

Two papers presented that year… (Both are also available as previously on the ESET site, also by permission of Virus Bulletin.) I believe I also did a sponsor presentation, which was easily the worst presentation of my life, and I resolved never to pick up someone else’s presentation again. Fortunately, these two were fine. I must dig out the slide decks.

(1) David Harley and Pierre-Marc Bureau: A Dose By Any Other Name; Virus Bulletin Conference Proceedings, 2008. Copyright is held by Virus Bulletin Ltd, but is made available on this site for personal use free of charge by permission of Virus Bulletin

Years ago, when alt.comp.virus was still useful, ‘Name that virus’ was a popular virtual party game, and virus names were, if not standardized, at least easy to cross-reference with tools like VGrep [1]. In 2008, the numbers have escalated exponentially, analysis and detection have become increasingly generic, and naming, even for some WildList malware, has become nearly useless because of the difficulty of mapping samples to names. The CME (Common Malware Enumeration) initiative [2], while attempting to achieve something many people wanted, seems to have foundered on the rocks of the reality. Yet we continue to provide ‘top ten’ threat lists that have virtually no commonality or consistency across different vendors and sites, so that our customers continue to ask whether we detect the media virus du jour, and the slashdotty community point to us and giggle at our incompetence in failing to provide information about what we detect. Are all our solutions going generic? Are there ways to resolve this issue so that our customers can understand what’s happening and regain some faith in the industry without being hung up on the question ‘Do you detect virus X?’ We think so, and will discuss some possible approaches in this paper.

(2) David Harley and Andrew Lee: Who Will Test The Testers? ; Virus Bulletin Conference Proceedings, 2008. Copyright is held by Virus Bulletin Ltd, but is made available on this site for personal use free of charge by permission of Virus Bulletin

The anti-malware industry has been plagued since its earliest days by one poorly designed comparative test after another. In 2007, some of the best anti-malware researchers, comparative testers and product certification specialists took the first steps towards raising product testing standards with the formation of a group specifically focused on establishing standards and methodologies, educating both consumers and testers in discrimination between good and bad practice, and providing objective analyses of current testing practices. This paper summarizes current initiatives by the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization and other groups, but also considers next steps, going beyond objectifying methodology, educational issues and blowing away the fog of misinformation and fallacy, to the next level. Underlying these vital issues is a question: is it possible to make testers and certifying authorities more accountable for the quality of their testing methods and the accuracy of the conclusions they draw based on that testing? This paper attempts to answer that question.

Anti-Malware Testing
ESET Senior Research Fellow

About David Harley

Musician/singer/songwriter; independent author/editor
This entry was posted in AMTSO, conference papers, David Harley, ESET, VB Conference Papers, Virus Bulletin and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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