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Keywords:

  • botnet detection;
  • malware;
  • honeynets;
  • intentional infection;
  • behavioral analysis

ABSTRACT

As botnets have become the primary means for cyber attacks, how to detect botnets becomes an important issue for researchers and practitioners. In this study, we introduce a system that is designed to detect botnets prior to their activation. Pre-detection of botnets becomes available with our enhanced honeypot system that allows us to intentionally infect virtual machines in honeynets. For empirical testing, we applied our system to a major Internet service provider in Korea. After running our proposed system for 12 months, it was found that nearly 40% of blacklisted botnets were pre-detected by our system before their attacks begin. We expect that our system can be used to detect command-and-control servers and to screen them out during their propagation stage before they make harmful attacks. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.