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

06:55 AM

Aliens, Protein, and Bots

Today's grids may be tomorrow's botnets

2:55 PM -- Bet you think botnets can't be used for anything good. But what about research computing grids like [email protected] and [email protected], which are basically networks of client machines used to expand computing resources for research purposes? (See Aliens Steal Laptop! and Botnets Battle Over Turf.)

"Think of SETI or Folding as a good botnet, being remotely controlled to do good stuff," says Randy Abrams, director of technical education for Eset.

Of course, SETI's alien-watching and Folding's protein research grids are legitimate and purely voluntary, he says, but their infrastructure poses some risks -- of a botnet operator gaining control of them to expand their armies, or security breaches opening the networks up to hackers. (SETI a couple of years ago was discovered to have bugs that could have turned the network over to a botnet's control.)

Abrams, who recently blogged about this, says he's actually more worried that if the research grid concept takes off, then eventually savvy commercial types will jump onboard with not-so-philanthropic grids of their own. "I can see real abuses of it," he says. A company could offer you a free secure digital card if you provide a few cycles of your PC when your asleep at night, but could instead use it for a spam run, he says. "Or 'let us collect information on how you use your computer, for our marketing research,'" he says, and they also download confidential information, unbeknownst to the user.

"'Grid' may well be tomorrow's euphemism for commercial botnet," he writes in his blog.

The commercial possibilities are creepy, for sure. But with botnets already battling one another for more drones, what's to stop them from trying to recruit thousands of alien-watchers?

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

  • ESET

    Recommended Reading:

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
    Dark Reading Staff 7/9/2020
    Omdia Research Launches Page on Dark Reading
    Tim Wilson, Editor in Chief, Dark Reading 7/9/2020
    Mobile App Fraud Jumped in Q1 as Attackers Pivot from Browsers
    Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  7/10/2020
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Current Issue
    Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
    This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
    Flash Poll
    The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
    The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
    This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    PUBLISHED: 2020-07-13
    Affected versions of Atlassian Jira Server and Data Center allow remote attackers to view titles of a private project via an Insecure Direct Object References (IDOR) vulnerability in the Administration Permission Helper. The affected versions are before version 7.13.6, from version 8.0.0 before 8.5....
    PUBLISHED: 2020-07-13
    The login.jsp resource in Jira before version 8.5.2, and from version 8.6.0 before version 8.6.1 allows remote attackers to redirect users to a different website which they may use as part of performing a phishing attack via an open redirect in the os_destination parameter.
    PUBLISHED: 2020-07-13
    Affected versions of Atlassian Jira Server and Data Center allow remote attackers to access sensitive information without being authenticated in the Global permissions screen. The affected versions are before version 8.8.0.
    PUBLISHED: 2020-07-13
    The Gadget API in Atlassian Jira Server and Data Center in affected versions allows remote attackers to make Jira unresponsive via repeated requests to a certain endpoint in the Gadget API. The affected versions are before version 8.5.4, and from version 8.6.0 before 8.6.1.
    PUBLISHED: 2020-07-13
    Affected versions of Atlassian Jira Server and Data Center allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary HTML or JavaScript via a cross site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the Add Field module. The affected versions are before version 8.7.0.