Researchers: Botnets Getting Beefier

    Date17 Apr 2007
    Posted ByBill Keys
    Think botnets are bad now? We ain't seen nothin' yet. A select group of some 40 security researchers gathered on April 10 in the first Usenix event devoted to these networks of infected machines. The invitation-only event, called HotBots, was held in Cambridge, Mass.

    At the event, researchers warned that botnets Specifically, security researchers have spotted the early development stages of resilient botnets that have included peer-to-peer architectures. Botnets have traditionally been organized in a hierarchical structure, with one central command-and-control location. This centralization has been a blessing to researchers, as it gives them a single point of failure on which to focus.

    With a P2P botnet, however, there is no centralized point for command and control. Each node in the network acts as both client and server, eliminating the central chokepoint. Individual nodes can be knocked offline, but the gaps in the network will be closed without the loss affecting the botnet's operation or the attacker's control.

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