Researchers Crack Open Unusually Advanced Malware that Hid For 5 Years

A malware dubbed ProjectSauron went undetected for five years at a string of organizations, according to security researchers at Kaspersky Lab and Symantec. The malware may have been designed by a state-sponsored group. Researchers say that Project Sauron can disguise itself as benign files and does not operate in predictable ways, making it very tough to detect. Ars Technica reports: Its ability to operate undetected for five years is a testament to its creators, who clearly studied other state-sponsored hacking groups in an attempt to replicate their advances and avoid their mistakes. State-sponsored groups have been responsible for malware like the Stuxnet- or National Security Agency-linked Flame, Duqu, and Regin. Much of ProjectSauron resides solely in computer memory and was written in the form of Binary Large Objects, making it hard to detect using antivirus. Because of the way the software was written, clues left behind by ProjectSauron in so-called software artifacts are unique to each of its targets. That means that clues collected from one infection don’t help researchers uncover new infections. Unlike many malware operations that reuse servers, domain names, or IP addresses for command and control channels, the people behind ProjectSauron chose a different one for almost every target.


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