According to a news article on Government Computer News, federal agencies can and may already be using attacker’s malware code against them. Security expert Andrzej Dereszowski demonstrated how this would work at the recent Blackhat Europe security conference.
Andrzej analyzed the source code of a .pdf Trojan. He then compared the source code to known Remote Access Toolkit programs and found a match. He then took the toolkit and ran exploit attacks against it until he found an error in the program. It was a buffer overflow.
Then, analyzing the buffer overflow, he created his own exploit to work against the Trojan. Using a Metasploit shell, he was able to connect back to the malware command and control server using its own communication techniques. He was then able to fully access the Command and Control malware server, effectively hacking the hackers.
The connection back to the server would be hard if not impossible to detect, because it would appear to just be another malware infected client checking in. This type of counterattack theoretically could be used against the majority of current threats. All that would be needed would be the technical experts like Andrzej to decompile and reverse engineer the source code.
Currently, it is against federal law for civilians to counter attack a hacker. But, one could assume that federal agencies are already using these techniques. Now, what would be very interesting is if the next version of Einstein (The Government’s automated virus protection system) had a database of exploited malware code. When the system detected an attack, it could analyze the incoming attack, determine what malware the attack is based on and automatically execute the reverse attack, all on the fly and in real time.
Cool stuff, a PowerPoint of Andrzej’s presentation can be found on Blackhat Europe’s website.
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