Efficiency Reduction Malware: Stealth, Persistent, Devastating
Little does our literature highlight the most pernicious and potentially dangerous class of malware that has found its ways to our most sensitive and critical cyber systems. Unlike the common stop-action malware that manifests itself without any ambiguity, efficiency-reducing malware simply makes searches, and computational sequences slower. Oftentimes the effect is too mild to be noticed, but it can be dialed up at will. The affected systems keep going, they appear fully functional, and trigger no inspection and no detection. The early generation of efficiency reduction malware was primitive: simply injecting nonce material, randomness, into the processed data, increasing the computational load. The more recent malware takes over a computational task, performs it with good results -- only slower. The coming generations is having AI capability to become more stealth, more penetrating, while improving as it goes.
Efficiency reducing malware (ERM) has no manifestation except with respect to computational efficiency. The replaced subroutine performs as expected. It passes the most extensive tests. No change in output. No established means to detect it. It endures and operates in complete stealth.
The means of installing ERM are based on exploiting 'weak keys' with which all prevailing ciphers can be cracked. Users inadvertently use weak keys, and adversaries spot them and use them to replace working code with same working code -- only slower. BitMint recommends the deployment of Tesla Ciphers which have no weak keys and can withstand an ERM attack. Tesla cryptography also enables secure code refreshment to clean any lurking ERM (https://eprint.iacr.org/2023/803)
Efficiency Reducing Malware is considered pre-hostilities malware, ready to be upgraded to open hostilities mode, disrupting the grid, critical civil and military systems.
The only way to meet this challenge is to refresh the operational code, from generating code residing on a 'cyber island' -- unreachable to hacking operation. BitMint patents for that purpose are on the market. A lot of foreign interest.