JUNE 30, 2007
 (STAR) By Cecille Suerte Felipe - Filipino expertise in information technology (IT) was once again recognized worldwide after a local team discovered the rapidly spreading infection Italian Job “malware” (malicious software) and became one of the first to provide solutions.

The Italian Job malware started from an attack on Italian tourism sites, among the thousands of legitimate websites “hijacked” daily by cyber criminals.

More than 10,000 Web sites have been infected with software that commandeers computers visiting them.

According to Raimund Genes, TM’s chief technology officer of the Anti-Malware, malware is different from computer virus in a way that a virus is transferred only when a user opens an infected e-mail.

“Malware is different because it can infect a computer once you click a web site, which hackers already hacked. And there were at least 2,000 new reports of malware everyday,” Genes said.

“The bad guys behind malware will be able to trace all key strikes in your computer,” he said.

Teams from the Trend Micro Incident Response Team-Antivirus department, who were just about to change shift last June 16, started receiving several reports of apparent malevolent cyber activity until they discovered it to be the Italian Job.

Bernard Bisuña, director of the Trend Micro Anti-Malware Services, said the modus operandi is strikingly familiar — hacked Italian Web sites that trigger a series of malware downloads once a user visits them.

After noticing the pattern, Ryan Flores, team leader of the Trend Micro Incident Response Team-Antivirus department and Carolyn Guevarra immediately alerted their counterparts in Japan, United States, Germany and Latin America.

“We immediately worked and blocked all related URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) to disable malicious file download,” Flores said.

“The malware has been spreading for a week and has already infected more than 10,000 websites worldwide when we detected and blocked it,” he said.

The Philippine-TM’s accomplishment was not left unnoticed, in fact TM Chief Executive Officer Eva Chen, who is based in California, thanked the team for a job well done.

The Trend Micro teams were also being mentioned by other Internet security experts in various blogs for their success in combating malware like Italian Job.

“We are happy that we were able to bring prestige and honors that we are one of the best IT experts worldwide,” Guevarra said.

Genes noted that there is a need to combat the increasingly damaging security threat on the Internet. “The latest web threats in the face of Italian Job infection, which recently happened in Europe, would also make the Philippines vulnerable without security infrastructure in place.”

Trend Micro is one of the leading players in the antivirus and Internet security industry with TrendLabs as its backbone on service infrastructure.

It plays a vital role in monitoring potential security threats and conducting research used to develop technologies to identify, detect and eliminate new threats, providing business with round-the-clock threat surveillance and attack prevention.

For Flores and Guevarra, blocking the Italian Job is another day’s work.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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