Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

12/6/2007
06:32 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Peering Inside the IRC Botnet

New report by Chinese and German researchers provides bird's eye view of how an Internet Relay Chat botnet operates

The average life span of a command and control server in an Internet Relay Chat (IRC)-based botnet is less than two months. And these machines and their drones that make up a botnet are typically scattered around the world, a new study on IRC botnets reveals.

German and Chinese researchers from Peking University in Beijing and from the University of Mannheim in Germany teamed up to track and study traditional IRC-based botnets over the last year. They found and followed 3,290 IRC-based botnets in the wild, using a honeynet of 17 nodes in 16 provinces in China and some automated tools. (See The World's Biggest Botnets .)

The researchers found more proof of what bot hunters have been saying all along: that IRC is becoming less and less the mode of communication for botnet operators as they attempt to evade detection and stay alive. "Botnets seem to shift away from IRC to protocols like HTTP, Peer-to-Peer-based protocols, or custom protocols," the report says. Still, the researchers consider the relatively short life expectancy of the C&C servers a sign of how flexible these traditional botnet infrastructures are. (See Botnets Don Invisibility Cloaks and Black Hat: Botnets Go One-on-One.)

Although there's a healthy geographic distribution of C&C servers and bot-infected machines, the U.S. is the most popular home for IRC-based botnet C&C machines, with 38.8 percent of them residing here, according to the report. Next in line are China, Korea, Germany, and the Netherlands, with anywhere from 7.5 percent to 4.9 percent of the servers.

The researchers logged the activity -- by commands -- of the botnets. Merely infecting or spreading their malware (10,891 events) was the most common command issued by the bot herders, followed by DDOS attacks (9,755 events), botnet cloning (5,621 events), download/update (5,583 events), information theft (3,809 events), bot login (1,863 events), server hosting (398 events), bot control (780 events), and 107 miscellaneous events.

And these older botnets tend to rely on older vulnerabilities, too, such as asn1 (MS04-007) and pnp (MS05-039), which have had patches for some time. Exploiting weak passwords is another common way bot herders infect machines, the researchers found.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/14/2020
Lock-Pickers Face an Uncertain Future Online
Seth Rosenblatt, Contributing Writer,  8/10/2020
Hacking It as a CISO: Advice for Security Leadership
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/10/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
7 New Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities That Could Put Your Enterprise at Risk
In this Dark Reading Tech Digest, we look at the ways security researchers and ethical hackers find critical vulnerabilities and offer insights into how you can fix them before attackers can exploit them.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-17475
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-14
Lack of authentication in the network relays used in MEGVII Koala 2.9.1-c3s allows attackers to grant physical access to anyone by sending packet data to UDP port 5000.
CVE-2020-0255
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-14
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: CVE-2020-10751. Reason: This candidate is a duplicate of CVE-2020-10751. Notes: All CVE users should reference CVE-2020-10751 instead of this candidate. All references and descriptions in this candidate have been removed to prevent accidenta...
CVE-2020-14353
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-14
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: CVE-2017-18270. Reason: This candidate is a duplicate of CVE-2017-18270. Notes: All CVE users should reference CVE-2017-18270 instead of this candidate. All references and descriptions in this candidate have been removed to prevent accidenta...
CVE-2020-17464
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-14
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: This candidate was withdrawn by its CNA. Further investigation showed that it was not a security issue. Notes: none.
CVE-2020-17473
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-14
Lack of mutual authentication in ZKTeco FaceDepot 7B 1.0.213 and ZKBiosecurity Server 1.0.0_20190723 allows an attacker to obtain a long-lasting token by impersonating the server.