New Weapon Against Malware Described

ATLANTA, Oct. 6 (UPI) — Computer scientists in Georgia say they’ve developed a software weapon to combat so-called “drive-by downloads” of malicious software.

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers say insecure Web browsers and the growing number of complex applets and browser plug-in applications are allowing malicious software to spread faster than ever on the Internet, signaling a shift away from using spam and malicious e-mail attachments to infect computers, an institute release says.

GIT scientists say their new tool BLADE, short for Block All Drive-by Download Exploits, is browser independent and designed to eliminate all drive-by malware installation threats.

“By simply visiting a Web site, malware can be silently installed on a computer to steal a user’s identity and other personal information, launch denial-of-service attacks, or participate in botnet activity,” Wenke Lee, a professor in Georgia Tech’s College of Computing, said.

“BLADE is an effective countermeasure against all forms of drive-by download malware installs because it is vulnerability and exploit agnostic.”

Researcher Long Lu explained the BLADE software monitors and analyzes everything downloaded to a user’s hard drive to crosscheck whether the user authorized the computer to open, run or store the file.

“If the answer is no to these questions, BLADE stops the program from installing or running and removes it from the hard drive,” Lu said.

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