IÂ am excited to be involved in the joint industry effort ofÂ defining an XML format which will allow for the rapid exchange of information between security companies. This work was done by the “Malware Working Group” operating as part of the “Industry Connections Security Group” (ICSG) and under the umbrella of the IEEE. If you Google for “IEEE” and “ICSG” you should have the link at the top of the list – IEEE ICSG .
There were about 20 people from multiple security companies who contributed to the development ofÂ the proposal for the standard and I am very pleased with the results. It is a simple, flexible and powerful format that is already being used by 4 anti-malware companies to transmit meta-data about the prevalence of malware in the field. Wider adoption of this meta-data sharing will replace the trivial malware sample exchange of the past with a real-time exchange of threat intelligence data.Â Communicating the relationships between malware samples, domains, IPs will open endless possibilities for improving the security of all Internet users.
For example, it will allow us to describe the whole history of domains/IPs that were used by a specific malware writing group, which malware they hosted and even how the malware got installed onto users’ computers. And this can be expressed in an unambiguous way suitable for rapid automated analysis. In a word – it’s powerful!
But there are huge benefits even in trivial transmitting of the simplest malware prevalence data:
- If you are an anti-malware vendor you will be able to prioritize samples in your research queues.
- If you are a testing organization you will be able to create more relevant test sets (for example, downgradeÂ rare and old samples).
- If you are an administrator you can submit consolidated field reports to anti-malware vendors and help make the Internet a safer place.
Here is how a portion ofÂ the XML with meta-data looks like.
If you are interested -Â the complete XML schema is available hereÂ and if you want to get involved please get in touch with your current point of contact at McAfee Labs.