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

4/19/2007
06:55 AM
50%
50%

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

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
    Why Vulnerable Code Is Shipped Knowingly
    Chris Eng, Chief Research Officer, Veracode,  11/30/2020
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon Contest
    Current Issue
    2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
    We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
    Flash Poll
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2018-21270
    PUBLISHED: 2020-12-03
    Versions less than 0.0.6 of the Node.js stringstream module are vulnerable to an out-of-bounds read because of allocation of uninitialized buffers when a number is passed in the input stream (when using Node.js 4.x).
    CVE-2020-26248
    PUBLISHED: 2020-12-03
    In the PrestaShop module "productcomments" before version 4.2.1, an attacker can use a Blind SQL injection to retrieve data or stop the MySQL service. The problem is fixed in 4.2.1 of the module.
    CVE-2020-29529
    PUBLISHED: 2020-12-03
    HashiCorp go-slug before 0.5.0 does not address attempts at directory traversal involving ../ and symlinks.
    CVE-2020-29534
    PUBLISHED: 2020-12-03
    An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel before 5.9.3. io_uring takes a non-refcounted reference to the files_struct of the process that submitted a request, causing execve() to incorrectly optimize unshare_fd(), aka CID-0f2122045b94.
    CVE-2020-17527
    PUBLISHED: 2020-12-03
    While investigating bug 64830 it was discovered that Apache Tomcat 10.0.0-M1 to 10.0.0-M9, 9.0.0-M1 to 9.0.39 and 8.5.0 to 8.5.59 could re-use an HTTP request header value from the previous stream received on an HTTP/2 connection for the request associated with the subsequent stream. While this woul...