Botzilla: Detecting the "Phoning Home" of Malicious Software

Konrad Rieck, Guido Schwenk, Tobias Limmer, Thorsten Holz, Pavel Laskov

ACM Symposium on Applied Computing (SAC), Sierre, Switzerland, March 2010


Abstract

Hosts infected with malicious software, so called malware, are ubiquitous in today's computer networks. The means whereby malware can infiltrate a network are manifold and range from exploiting of software vulnerabilities to tricking a user into executing malicious code. Monitoring and detection of all possible infection vectors is intractable in practice. Hence, we approach the problem of detecting malicious software at a later point when it initiates contact with its maintainer; a process referred to as "phoning home". In particular, we introduce Botzilla, a method for detection of malware communication, which proceeds by repetitively recording network traffic of malware in a controlled environment and generating network signatures from invariant content patterns. Experiments conducted at a large university network demonstrate the ability of Botzilla to accurately identify malware communication in network traffic with very low false-positive rates.

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Tags: botnet detection, Malware