Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Nepenthes Platform: An Efficient Approach to Collect Malware

Thorsten Holz writes on Honeyblog:

Up to now, there is little empirically backed quantitative and qualitative knowledge about self-replicating malware publicly available. This hampers research in these topics because many counter-strategies against malware, e.g., network- and host-based intrusion detection systems, need hard empirical data to take full effect.

We present the nepenthes platform [.pdf], a framework for large-scale collection of information on self-replicating malware in the wild. The basic principle of nepenthes is to emulate only the vulnerable parts of a service. This leads to an efficient and effective solution that offers many advantages compared to other honeypot-based solutions. Furthermore, nepenthes offers a flexible deployment solution, leading to even better scalability.

Using the nepenthes platform we and several other organizations were able to greatly broaden the empirical basis of data available about self-replicating malware and provide thousands of samples of previously unknown malware to vendors of host-based IDS/anti-virus systems. This greatly improves the detection rate of this kind of threat.

More here.


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