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Home » Hacking News » Honeymonkey found 750 malitious webs

Honeymonkey found 750 malitious webs

by Nikola Strahija on August 11th, 2005 Microsoft 's experimental Honeymonkey project has found almost 750 web pages that attempt to load malicious code onto visitors' computers and detected an attack using a vulnerability that had not been publicly disclosed, the software giant said in a paper released this month.

The project uses automated Windows XP clients to surf suspicious parts of the Web looking for sites that compromise the systems without any user interaction. In the latest experiments, Microsoft has identified 752 specific addresses owned by 287 websites that contain programs able to install themselves on a completely unpatched Windows XP system.

-The honeymonkey client goes [to malicious websites] and gets exploited rather than waiting to get attacked, said Yi-Min Wang, manager of Microsoft's Cybersecurity and Systems Management Research Group. -This technique is useful for basically any company that wants to find out whether their software is being exploited this way by websites on the internet.’

The experimental system, is one of the software giant's many initiatives to make the web safer for users of the Windows operating system. Online fraudsters have become more resourceful about fooling users, and statistical evidence has suggested that financial markets are holding software makers such as Microsoft responsible for such problems.

The Honeymonkey project, first discussed at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Symposium on Security and Privacy in Oakland, California in May, is the latest attempt by the software giant to detect threats to its customers before the threats become widespread. The honeymonkeys consist of virtual machines running different patch levels of Windows. The "monkey" programs browse a variety of websites looking for sites that attempt to exploit browser vulnerabilities.

Microsoft plans to continue the honeymonkey research to collect new information on threats. In the end, such research could help put the source of such attack behind bars. After investigating sites that use exploits to compromise systems, Microsoft plans to forward the information to law enforcement, said Scott Stein, an attorney with Microsoft's Internet Safety Enforcement Team and former US Department of Justice prosecutor.

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