Image: Jonathan Greig / Recorded Future News

CISA to expand automated malware analysis system beyond government agencies

Businesses and other organizations will be able to submit samples of malware to the U.S. government for analysis under a new program run by the nation’s top cybersecurity agency.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said its Malware Next-Gen service has been available to government and military workers since November, but it is now opening it up to the private sector.

Eric Goldstein, the agency’s executive assistant director for cybersecurity, said the automated system enables federal threat-hunting analysts to “better analyze, correlate, enrich data, and share cyber threat insights with partners.” 

“Effective and efficient malware analysis helps security professionals detect and prevent malicious software from enabling adversary access to persistence within an organization,” Goldstein said. 

The program “facilitates and supports rapid and effective response to evolving cyber threats, ultimately safeguarding critical systems and infrastructure,” he said.

In addition to malware, the system will accept other suspicious digital artifacts for analysis as well. Organizations can submit malware samples but only authorized users will be able to access the analytical results.

The landing page for the service warns that anyone who “accesses this system without authorization, exceeds authorized access, or violates system rules of behavior could be subject to punitive actions, such as being barred from Malware Next Gen, as well as civil or criminal penalties.”

Since the effort was unveiled in November, CISA said almost 400 registered users have submitted about 1,600 files for review — leading to the identification of about 200 suspicious or malicious files and URLs. Those  files and URLs were shared with partners in an effort to better protect them from potential infection, the agency said. 

Officials said they believe the platform — and their team — will be able to handle the increased number of submissions. 

CISA has in recent months fought for more funding to cover multiple new initiatives the agency is in the process of kickstarting. Recent appropriations have come in at less than the Biden administration requested. CISA previously said they are still working through ways to deal with the budget shortage.

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Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig

is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.