By Associated Press - Sunday, January 25, 2015

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) - A new weapon against malware has been developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The Knoxville News Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1ElCPTP) reports an 11-person tech squad has developed Hyperion, which they say is able to identify malicious software even if it’s not on a list of known threats.

The lab signed a licensing agreement recently with R&K Cyber Solutions LLC, which allows the company to commercialize the technology. According to a statement from the company, it plans to make Hyperion available commercially later this month.



Stacy Prowell, who led the ORNL team that developed Hyperion, says he thinks it will have longevity because it attacks malware at the nuts-and-bolts level.

“What it’s really doing is automated reverse engineering of the compiled software to figure out what the behavior is going to be when it’s run in all cases,” Prowell said in a telephone interview.

“It’s attacking a very challenging problem,” he said.

He said the technology has been in development for a decade and can check for known malicious operations and domain-specific problems.

“This technology helps detect vulnerabilities and can uncover malicious content before it has a chance to execute,” Prowell said in a statement provided by the lab.

The statement said Hyperion’s scanning capabilities are among the most comprehensive available.

“This approach is better than signature detection, which only searches for patterns of bytes,” Prowell said in a statement. “It’s easy for somebody to hide that - they can break it up and scatter it about the program so it won’t match any signature.”

R&K CEO Joseph Carter said in a statement that software behavior computation is an emerging science and technology that will have a “profound effect on malware analysis and software assurance.”

“Computed behavior based on deep functional semantics is a much-needed cyber security approach that has not been previously available,” Carter said. “Unlike current methods, behavior computation does not look at surface structure. Rather, it looks at deeper behavior patterns.”

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Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, https://www.knoxnews.com

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