Some interesting developments in the Operation Horse Race story, which we wrote about in our news section a couple of days ago.
A security company named 2bSecure originally located the Trojan code. The police asked them not to share the Trojan sample with antivirus companies in order to avoid alerting the offenders. However, now that they have been arrested and evidence is being collected, 2bSecure intend to publish the code of the Trojan on their website.
The company also plans to publish a disinfection tool along with the code to help victims remove the Trojan from their computer. 2bSecure believes that making the Trojan code publicly available will serve a similar purpose, by helping victims to identify infected systems and to evaluate the damage.
The full disclosure concept is nothing new, and in the past, other so-called security companies have published Trojan and virus code in order to “help” users deal with them.
In this case, given that a disinfection tool will be available, I think publishing the source or the Trojan code is redundant and, in my opinion, irresponsible. In the past, whenever a piece of malware has been made available on the Internet, it basically opened the door to countless modifications, hacks, or patched variants. We’ve seen this happen in the past with other bots where the source has been widely distributed – Agobot and SdBot are the first that come to mind, with over 800 variants in each family!
Sure, there will be researchers who will benefit from access to the Trojan – they’ll be able to analyse its behaviour and develop protection against it. However, the damage which will be inflicted on the Internet community by the potential multitude of new variants will far outweigh any positive effects.