Security Experts Hope To Write Eulogy For Blacklists

from the black-death dept

Blacklists have always been a significant tool in the security industry’s anti-malware arsenal. For years, the basic anti-virus model was simply to maintain a list of known viruses (and their permutations) and match any potential virus against that list. As malware started to proliferate and vary wildly, security firms have augmented this approach with other techniques, though the basic blacklist still remains. Blacklists are also used to protect against spam and identify websites that may be hostile. But just as the model has come to be inadequate in the traditional anti-virus space, so too is it seen as deficient for other purposes. Among the complaints about blacklists include the fact they’re easy to accidentally fall into, while easily gamed by those looking to get off them. Essentially, blacklists are a blunt weapon unsuitable for the complexity of good security systems. Just ask the customers of Verizon, who at times have had all of their foreign email blocked, because the company’s overly aggressive anti-spam software. Interestingly, one major user of blacklists is Google, which uses them to warn users about potentially malicious sites that they may encounter through searches. Seeing as the company is ramping up its security business, it will be worth watching whether it continues to push blacklists, or if it seeks out more sophisticated mechanisms for discerning what’s legitimate online.

Filed Under: , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Security Experts Hope To Write Eulogy For Blacklists”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Matt Bennett says:

Um, you talk about it as if blacklists are an exclusive method. They’re not, and there’s no reason to ever abandon them completely. Say Google comes out with more “sophisticated mechanisms” pick out bad sites. There’s no reason not to supplement that with a blacklist of sites that they know are bad regardless of what their algorithms say, or indeed a whitelist, of sites they know are good regardless.

JS Beckerist (profile) says:

White List vs. Black List

White List vs. Black List, and I’ll give a prime example: the Firefox plugins, NoScript and Adblock.

NoScript is a White list based service. It blocks all Javascript from every top level domain until you specify otherwise. Adblock is a black list based service. It doesn’t block ANYTHING until you specify otherwise (good for image based advertisements, and fun to build!)

My point with this is, both are very useful and perform similar functions but are meant for two different things. NoScript is my powerhorse, nothing gets through it that I don’t want. Adblock, while working more like AV software, will prevent things from loading AFTER I’ve already seen it once. This is NOT effective when trying to prevent an unknown for the first time, every time, and really the White List method is the only real way to do this.

…then again, look at Windows Vista. Would you like to perform this action? Yes or No? A step in the right direction if you ask me, and I think A/V could learn a thing or two from this.

James W. (profile) says:

Nothing new being said

For the last 4 years, I’ve had to deal with blacklists of various sizes and scopes and a number of them are slowly becoming havens for false positives. This is becoming increasingly more true — and visible — in the realm of spam blacklists.

I’ve written about this for a few months now, especially about those boneheads at Verizon, and I’ve been watching this territory slip further into the hands of spammers and admins are losing out because of laziness and blacklists based around unethical purposes.

inam farooq says:

blacklisted web and companies in china

hello every body donot sent money to any china companies also,in this web maney china companies and also some other countries making maney type of business in this web.donot west the time and money.
please read with care fully,in this site maney companies doing cheating they are very very expert to satisfied to other peoples.beacouse i have sended to money for 10 every company say send money only by westren union.after collect my money they did not sent my parcel.
parcel detial is laptops,external hdd hard drive,hdd,digital cameras and maney think.for more imformation every body can ask with cell no.+49-151-28204484,e-mail

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...