I Was Wrong About Worms Making A Comeback

My friend and co-host @lerg pointed me to this post on Errata Security, heralding the one year anniversary of NotPetya, and in particular, pointing out that reports about NotPetya still mischaracterize the cause as lack of patching.  That blog post is well worth a read and I don’t have much to add beyond it.

In the wake of WannaCry, and later NotPetya, I made the call a number of times on DefSec that we were likely seeing the start of a trend that would see network-based worms making a comeback.  Well, it’s been a year, and there haven’t been any more notable worms.  That is obviously good, but I think it’s also bad in a way.  I strongly believe one of the reasons NotPetya and WannaCry were so devastating is that we had not seen worms in so long, and so network propagating worms really haven’t been firmly in the threat models of many people/organizations for some time.  That led to some complacency, both on patches and also on ID management/trust relationships, as the post above describes.  My fear is that, because worms are fading out of our consciousness again, the next batch of worms in the coming months or years will again be devastating, but even more so, as we become more and more reliant on pervasive IT connected by crappily designed networks.

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