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Manuel Garcia-Cervigon Gutierrez and Roberto Morales

Manuel Garcia-Cervigon: Managing Director, esCERT-UPC
Roberto Morales: DAC-UPC

Computer Architecture Department, Polytechnic University of Catalonia

Manuel Garcia-Cervigon

Manuel García-Cervigón. Degree in Computer Science from Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) and Master Degree in Open Source Software, Manuel is the technical Director of esCERT-UPC. He has participated in numerous Anomaly Detection related R+D projects being that area the focus of his PhD.
He also works as adjunct Teacher at UPC.

Survey on Pervasive Malware Attack Vectors

Nowadays public environments (e.g. airports, offices, and parks) and private or protected environments (e.g. SCADA systems) populate with a high number of heterogeneous devices like smart-phones, sensors, laptops, or tablets for example. Majority of devices have embedded more than one communication capability with allows people to interact with the environment. Due to the large amount of different interaction within those pervasive environments the complexity increases so does the insecurity of such systems. The easiness to create new malware samples and remotely exploit a network service or infect a device through another one is only comparable to the damage that can be caused. In this work we present a survey on how these environments are vulnerable to attacks and how we can detect and prevent such attacks using proper tools and methodologies.

Different factors are not taken into account when securing ubiquitous devices:
  • Networking: last generation of devices use IP protocols allowing the connection between another systems and TCP/IP networks.
  • Protection: devices CANNOT be protected following the same measures taken within IT departments.

Due to the above reasons pervasive environments are vulnerable to multiple vector attacks:

  • Traditional IT attacks. Attacks over TCP/IP networks, widely used to compromise operating systems and poorly secured applications.
  • Specific attacks over communications. Some devices internal communication protocols such Bluetooth have been proved to be vulnerable.
  • Specific attacks over software. Knowledge of the used libraries can help malware to control some functions of a program. As an example, browsers and online banking have been widely affected by these types of attacks.
  • Device infection. Malware samples can easily spread itself through device to device.