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IBM Makes Test Version of New Stealth AI Malware ‘DeepLocker’

IBM has announced that it has created its own stealth, ultra-evasive AI malware called ‘DeepLocker’ that can evade all traditional cyber-security protection, hide in normal applications, and only strike when it is sure it has reached its intended target.


Cyber-criminals are becoming ever-more sophisticated in their methods, and the resources available to them have increased e.g. as hackers have also worked in state-sponsored activities. Also, the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come along leaps and bounds in recent years, and the fear is that cyber criminals could soon be deploying their own AI-powered malware. IBM has, therefore decided to create its own version in order to see how it works and behaves, and thereby gain valuable information which could help it to reduce risks, and find ways counter such attacks.


One of the things that makes DeepLocker so different to other malware that tends to take a scattergun approach to infection is that it can hide itself and its intent until it reaches a specific target.

This is down to DeepLocker using deep neural network (DNN) AI model, a sophisticated computer system modelled on the human brain and nervous system. This DNN provides a kind of ‘black box’ that totally conceals the “trigger conditions”, and makes attack almost impossible to decipher and reverse engineer. DeepLocker’s AI can, therefore, even convert its own concealed trigger condition (which has been transformed into a deep convolutional network), into a “password” or “key” to unlock its own attack payload when it identifies its victim. In this sense, it contains three layers of attack concealment.

Hides & Identifies

According to IBM, DeepLocker can hide itself completely in normal ‘carrier’ applications such as video conference software. This enables it to fly completely under the radar and avoid detection by most antivirus and malware scanners. It also allows it to be spread widely and without providing any clues that there is a threat.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Malware attacks have cost businesses, organisations and whole economies vast amounts of money and untold disruption and problems in recent times. Evasive malware has been evolving for many years now as cyber-criminals try to find their way around better security measures and more sophisticated sandboxes. AI attacks using ultra-evasive, stealth methods of the nature of DeepLocker represent the next frightening wave of attack that organisations and businesses will have to face. It is a good thing, therefore, that IBM has tried to take the initiative and gain a march on cybe- criminals who will undoubtedly seek to weaponise AI, by creating its own version in order to learn lessons in advance that could provide at least some level of protection and recommendations for counter-measures.