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McAfee defends against Kaspersky's Shady RAT alarmist jibe

Blasphemy against the Virus Pope
Mon Aug 22 2011, 15:12

INSECURITY OUTFIT McAfee has called out self-titled 'Virus Pope' Eugene Kaspersky for calling Shady RAT a botnet.

Kaspersky weighed in on Shady RAT, claiming that McAfee didn't do the right thing by going public about the long-running intrusion into networks of governments, companies and non-profit organisations and that the move was alarmist. Now McAfee's Phyllis Schneck, VP and CTO of McAfee's Global Public Sector division has said that Kaspersky is "missing the point".

Schneck defended McAfee's decision to publicise Shady RAT by asking, "Would it be alarmist to let a bank know that someone has just walked out with a wad of cash while they weren't paying attention?" Kaspersky also claimed the attack wasn't particularly sophisticated, but Schneck said that the level of sophistication is not the point here. "It's not the sophistication of the attack that's important, and this is a clear case where technical arguments are preventing some people from seeing the larger, more important picture."

Kaspersky also claimed that Shady RAT is a botnet, something that Schneck categorically says is incorrect. Instead she labeled Shady RAT as a successful persistent threat and said it "was only as advanced as it needed to be".

McAfee claims that it knows of 72 organisations that were affected by Shady RAT, which was a prolonged attack on many operations that the firm claims stole a large amount of data.

Whether Schneck or Kaspersky are correct about whether Shady RAT as a botnet is really beside the point. For Kaspersky to claim McAfee's move was alarmist is a bit rich, as all security companies promote fears of doom and gloom to sell their products and services.

The fundamental question remains, why did it take a security vendor five years to find out about Shady RAT? Kaspersky's firm and McAfee might better focus on protecting their customers rather than taking pot shots at each other. µ


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