back to article US military spies: We'll capture enemy malware, tweak it, lob it right back at our adversaries

The US Defense Intelligence Agency has vowed to capture enemy malware, study and customize it, and then turn the software nasties on their creators. Speaking at the US Department of Defense Intelligence Information Systems (DoDIIS) conference in Missouri on Monday, the head of the agency Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart told …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    After seeing how poor a job they do on their STIGs for DoD, hopefully it's a different team working on this because, otherwise, it will not end well....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Flawed premise?

      There seems to be a chain of flawed premise behind the thinking of the DoD in that it seems to feel unquestionably self-assured that a) it can improve any strand of malware, b) it can correctly identify its source and c) the people to whom they bounce the modified malware back will have not used any of the knowledge they employed to create the malware to set up appropriate defences against it.

      The Dod, or at least the part of it represented by the Lieutenant General named in the article, seems to be in a state of delusion.

      In the history of the world, of course, deluded people with powerful weapons have never been a problem...

  2. Daggerchild Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Pressing military matters

    Yes yes, but will the National Defence of the USA involve further weaponisation of cutesy Anime girls? :

    https://www.ghacks.net/2017/07/29/wikileaks-releases-manual-for-linux-implant-aeris/

    <Insert penetration joke here>

  3. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Typical Washington bureaucratic creep...

    The NSA has these capabilities, so of course the DIA wants to get into cyberwarfare too. Gotta grow that agency budget somehow!!

  4. David Roberts Silver badge
    Facepalm

    No chance

    Of any of this stuff escaping into the wild, of course.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: No chance

      By re-purposing and launching it at someone it won't be escaping into the wild, it will be deliberately sent into the wild.

  5. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

    Misdirection

    So when they are found to have attacked someone, it still will be all "No comment", but with the implication that it's a retaliation, rather than the default assumption: aggression. It's not about retooling malware at all.

  6. Tim Seventh

    "I want to reengineer it and prep to use it against"

    but they (the government) were the people who created it... That's like a guy taking a piss next to a tree and then saying I'm going to slam the guy who pissed next to the tree.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Right back at ya...

    So if everyone else does this, it is fine for all those hacking tools leaked from the NSA and the CIA (which were used against other nations) to target the USA and therefore the US should just accept it and not retaliate any further... I struggle to imagine a time, where someone checks the source code of the malware and says "oh, that had code that originally came from our nation, let's just let this go, they must have repurposed it and used it against us, which is only fair".

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Right back at ya...

      I look forward to the spiral of escalation. Not.

  8. Brad Ackerman
    Holmes

    I'd have gone with the Threatbutt map; it also comes with pew-pew noises.

  9. Tom 64
    Black Helicopters

    'murica

    The definition of 'collateral damage' in the american english dictionary is 'that stuff that needs sweeping under the carpet'

  10. Sanctimonious Prick
    Holmes

    I Can Just Imagine...

    When they find malware written by one of their own agencies...

    "Hey! Let's teach those pricks at the FBI who's boss!"

    'round, 'n 'round, 'n 'round...

  11. Nolveys Silver badge

    Dear whoever you are,

    We see that you have attacked us with malware. It was bloated, the stealth sucked and the payload was buggy as hell. We have fixed all of those issues for you and have provided you with the new and vastly improved version. Please try again.

    Hugs and kisses,

    The Federal Department Of Tax Disposal

  12. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Notice that that's within the capabilities of any adept scammers...

    ... which is one of the reasons why attributions is impossible. Anybody can take malware from someone else, repackage it and perhaps change the strings in it to another language... and use it again.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whoa..meta

    So somebody has already taken our malware and used it against us, so we're gonna take their strategy of using our malware against us and use it against them, and then they're gonna use our strategy of copying their strategy against and then

  14. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Holmes

    Just send them Windows ME

    That is all.

    1. Trygve Henriksen

      Re: Just send them Windows ME

      I'm pretty certain that's against the Fourth Geneva convention, which is all about protecting civilians in a warzone.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey everyone

    Uncle Sam is offering free QA!

  16. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "We must disrupt to exist."

    I find quite disturbing that a person with that mentality is in charge of a cyber-warfare division.

    It's like putting a sadist in charge of a prison.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: "We must disrupt to exist."

      Military logic is to real logic what military music is to real music.

  17. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Bullshit at its rankest

    Stewart said that the traditional stance of the US has been defensive:

    It's the USAmerican Way ....... live virtually in a dream world where nothing is real, and that aint no fiction and an undeniable fact which is now causing all manner of problems for ITs truth deniers.

  18. sitta_europea

    This is like Darwin all over again, isn't it?

    1. Sanguma

      It's the end of the world as we know it

      And I feel fine!!!

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      I wouldn't be surprised if they had an experimental programme that tries to debug and improve code by prayer.

  19. Adam 1 Silver badge

    > Once we've isolated malware, I want to reengineer it and prep to use it against the same adversary who sought to use against us

    What does the DoD have against NSA?

  20. Black Betty

    Don't a lot of malware packages patch security holes once in?

    My recollection is that many of the worst viruses clean up and patch behind themselves in order to keep other miscreants out and take sole control of the systems they infect.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Map

    Norse's map was debunked last year, along with all their fake tech. But if it makes the DOD happy, I guess they can have it.

    It's be fun to watch the CIA,NSA and DoD, stabbing at each other for a change.

  22. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Cuckolds R Us when Future Brains are not Stealthily InterNetworking Deadheads?

    Does anyone else find it most odd, and extremely disappointing if they be not ACTive APT Field Able and Enabled, that Blighty Virtual Forces or the likes of GCHQ and/or the National Cyber Security Centre and/or even Renegade Rogue Disenchanted Ex Special Forces, are practically never cited as being responsible for anything mainstream media news worthy and globally disruptive? Have they lost the knack of leading multiple fronts from the sublime comfort of their clubs to the rear with every Tom, Dick and Harry chasing ghosts to slay for no effective purpose?

    If Maybot Flies and Conservative Flash Harrys are samples of the best that the nation has to offer, then is serial defeat in every arena just desserts for all jumping through their crazy hoops and giving credence to anything they might wish the media to portray and say as being in any way important at all when it clearly isn't.

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