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 Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Romanian artist Alex Dragulescu, a research assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sociable Media Group, puts a face to threats such as Storm and Netsky. "Dragulescu created his so-called 'threat art' in conjunction with live malware intercepted by e-mail security firm MessageLabs. Each is disassembled into a dump of binary code and then run through a program Dragulescu wrote. That program spends a few hours crunching through all the data, looking for patterns in the code that will determine the shape, color and complexity of each piece of threat art."

According to the Washington Post's article, the configuration of these created organisms is driven largely by the botnets' actions. Dragulescu explains that if there is a repeated attempt to write to a system memory address, a particular Windows API call that tries to write to a file or [blast out e-mail], for instance, the program tracks that and looks for the prevalence, number and behavior of those occurrences. 

Dragulescu's other threat art include his "spam architecture," or his "spam plants," the latter of which take its form from rules that look at the ASCII values (computer code that represent the English alphabet) of each spam sample.

For more of Dragulescu's images, check out his Web site and the MessageLabs threat art page.
Read the full article on the Washington Post.

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