Feeds

Security agency calls time on botnet FUD

Cyber-zombie apocalypse now

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

The EU's cyber security Agency, ENISA, wants a re-think of how we measure the size and potency of botnets, networks of malware-infected PCs that are now the mainstay of spam distribution, identity theft and DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks.

Two parallel studies by ENISA, both due to be published at a security conference in Cologne on Wednesday, collectively evaluate the botnet threat while assessing the effectiveness of possible countermeasures and making recommendations to EU governments.

One of the two ENISA reports, entitled Botnets: 10 Tough Questions and based on interviews with cybercrime experts including security researchers and law enforcement officials, questions the reliability of botnet size estimates.

The study also looks the role of government in the fight against cybercrime as well as evaluating where money might be better spent.

Getting an accurate idea of the scope of the botnet threat is important because it informs how millions of information security-related dollars and pounds are spent.

Dr Giles Hogben, the report editor, concludes that current measures of the botnet threat (which are largely based on the numbers of drones in a particular zombie-machine network) could be misleading. "Size is not everything – the number of infected machines alone is an inappropriate measure of the threat" says Hogben.

A second study, Botnets: Measurement, Detection, Disinfection and Defence, evaluates best practice methods in combating zombie networks as well as providing an assessment of the threat posed by botnets. Recommendations in the report cover the legal, policy and technical aspects of the fight against botnets. In particular, ENISA backs schemes involving the notification of infected customers by their ISPs, a practice so far restricted to trial schemes in a small number of countries, including Australia. The survey also advocates closer international cooperation between governments and industry in the fight against cyber zombies.

ENISA has looked at the botnet threat before, with a study published three years ago which also emphasised international co-operation and the sharing of best practice. Three years later, ENISA is placing greater emphasis on scoping out the scale of the zombie network problem and on infection notification by ISPs than its previous study, which was published in May 2008.

More on ENISA's latest thinking on the pervasive cybercrime threat from infected networks of zombie PCs can be found on the agency's microsite here. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.