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European Union Sponsors Global Malware Study

The European Union has awarded a group of academic and commercial researchers a $7.1 million grant to analyze data on global malware activity and trends, according to Stephano Zanero, a researcher at the Italian university Politecno de Milano, who is helping lead the three-year project.

The project, which will begin in January, is called the Worldwide Observatory of Malicious Behavior and Attack Tools (WOMBAT). The resulting threat management system is being backed by European technology companies and research institutions, including France Telecom, the Institut Eurecom, and Hispasec Sistemas, according to Zanero.

"There are many different groups and projects that track malware, and they can tell us a lot about the malware itself," Zanero said at the recent Black Hat 2007 conference. "But they all have flaws, and they don't tell us very much about the people who create the malware. The goal of WOMBAT is to find out the root causes of the observed attacks, and to use the data we've correlated to help predict upcoming threats."

WOMBAT hopes to solve some of the unanswered questions around Internet security, Zanero said. "Why hasn't the industry seen a major worm attack since 2004? Why has no worm ever targeted the Internet's router infrastructure? Why isn't there more evidence of cyberterrorism? We don't have enough data."

Zanero's remarks were reported by Dark Reading, a website affiliated with the Tech Web group.

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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