ENISA calls for revised botnet measurements

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Mar 9, 2011

EU agency says current measures of botnet threat are misleading.

European cyber security agency, ENISA (the European Network and Information Security Agency) has called for a review of how botnets are assessed and measured.

Two studies by the agency are due to be published at a botnet workshop in Cologne today, evaluating both the botnet threat and the effectiveness of countermeasures. The first report, 'Botnets: 10 Tough Questions', concludes that current measures of the botnet threat could be misleading due to the fact that the number of infected machines alone (which is generally the way in which botnet sizes are estimated) does not give an accurate representation of the situation - despite managing to infect millions of computers with malware, the number of botnet assets that operators can control and leverage in an attack is often considerably smaller.

The report reaffirms the conclusions drawn by Damballa's Gunter Ollmann in his paper presented last year at the VB2010 conference (abstract here), in which he analysed how criminal botnet operators really assemble, rally, manage and coordinate their collective of victim computers, and how the number of systems at their direct disposal is considerably smaller than is often assumed.

ENISA's second study evaluates the best methods for combating botnets and makes recommendations covering legal, policy and technical points of view.

'Botnets: 10 Tough Questions' can be downloaded from ENISA's website here.

'Botnets: Measurement, Detection, Disinfection and Defence' can be downloaded from ENISA's website here.

The slides from Gunter Ollmann's VB2010 paper 'Size matters - measuring a botnet operator's pinkie' are available here (PDF).

Posted on 09 March 2011 by Virus Bulletin

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