An old trick is being used to track down malware and other malicious files that may be hiding in the wild, a cybersecurity expert says.
The new tool is a botnet search engine called Botnet Detector, which was developed by the University of California, San Diego, and has been used in a handful of public research projects, including the University’s Center for Advanced Computer Science.
The search engine has been around for more than a decade, but it has only been used once in public projects.
Botnet Detectors purpose is to give researchers a way to identify the types of malware and malware variants that are present in real-world networks.
In addition to the obvious malware, Botnet Discoverors can identify other kinds of malicious software that might be lurking in the internet.
For instance, it can show malware variants as a list of known malware families.
But that list of malware families has to be updated as more malware variants are discovered.
Bot Net Detectors is currently in beta, so it will be interesting to see if the tool can catch more types of malicious files and malware types in the future.
One way to help keep the botnet discovery engine secure is to not install the botnets on the computers of those who have been infected.
This could help prevent bots from infecting more computers by infecting a user’s network credentials.
Another thing that could help keep BotnetDetectors from becoming a botnets killer is to use a different set of search terms to detect malicious software than is currently used by the bot network itself.
For example, the search terms botnet, botnet encrypt, bot network, bot, botnets, and botnet scanner can help identify botnet variants.
In the future, the tool could be used to identify botnets and other malware variants, too.
This way, bot networks could be targeted with different types of security solutions.
For now, Bot Net Detector is a useful tool to keep track of botnet activity and malware distribution, but we may soon see the tool being used by other researchers to help track down more types and more variants of malware that have been discovered.
Image via University of Maryland.