Operation SMN is one way that companies are mimicking the intensely collaborative operations of criminal cyber organizations to fight back against attacks.
At the First Conference for computer security in Boston’s Park Plaza Hotel last June, Andre Ludwig listened as Holly Stewart, a product manager for Microsoft’s Malware Protection Center, lectured to a crowd of cyber professionals about a new program that would unite organizations against the growing wave of malware that infects computers across the globe. The Coordinated Malware Eradication program, or CME for short, calls for organizations to pool their resources—from tools to strategies—to fight the onslaught, she explained. Instead of beating malware back when it flares up, a coordinated response can eradicate it altogether.
And that’s when Ludwig, a senior technical director at the data analytics company Novetta, had an idea. “We had just started working on some instrumentation against HiKit malware,” he says. “That requires a massive amount of reverse engineering and intelligence. My first thought was, ‘Oh, I’ve got something for you.’” Ludwig cornered Stewart after the presentation and the pair chatted about knocking heads together. In hindsight, the benefits seemed obvious.
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