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Sarkari bot tool takes global malware to the cleaners

Since the launch of the Cyber Swachhta Kendra or the Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre last year, there has been a 51% decrease in malware infections in all networks in the country.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 31, 2018, 12.40 AM IST
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Sarkari bot removal tool beats global malware hands down
Banking botnet infections have come down 74.3% thanks to CERT-In’s bot removal tool during the June to November 2017 time-frame.
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NEW DELHI: “As per government of India’s Cyber Swachhta project, your device is probably infected with botnet malware. Please visit the website for remediation.” Since June of last year, tens of thousands of internet users in the country have got similar messages alerting them about possible vulnerabilities in their systems.

As a result, since the launch of the Cyber Swachhta Kendra or the Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre last year, there has been a 51% decrease in malware infections in all networks in the country, according to government estimates. The centre, which is run by Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), monitors the flow of internet traffic across the country and sends notifications to internet service providers (ISP), who in turn alerts their users about possible malware in their phones or personal computers and guides them on steps to clean them.

A top government official said that since its launch, over 121ISPs and close to 40 financial service organisations and other such firms were configured to receive daily bots threat intelligence feeds from the centre. “People are now acting on it (the advisories). They are increasingly becoming aware of the need to maintain the security of the systems,” the official added.

Bots are malwares which attach themselves to a vulnerable system and then convert the compromised system into a hub for sending out more attacks. According to a 2017 study by Symantec, India is the third-largest country in terms of ransomware attacks, and it is also the sixth-most bot-infected country in the world.

The official added that the Bot Removal Tool, which has been developed in collaboration with cyber security firm Quick Heal, has seen a massive increase in the number of downloads.

The estimates also suggest that the infections in the network of private telecom sector service providers such as Airtel and Vodafone have also reduced by around 40%. However, the number is higher for public sector telecom companies at 55%.

A spokesperson for Vodafone told ETthat the telecom service provider considers national cyber security as foremost priority and supports CERT-In and Botnet Cleaning Centre to address the growing number of cyber risks due to botnets. “Vodafone is engaged with CERT-In and Botnet Cleaning Centre to help identify malware affected subscriber devices based on IP addresses provided by the Botnet Cleaning Centre. Subscribers are accordingly notified with a prescribed messaged from the Botnet Cleaning Centre,” the spokesperson added.

The government estimates suggest that botnet infections in the banking sector, which is one of the most vulnerable sectors, have reduced by 74.3% during the June to November 2017 time-frame due to the functioning of the botnet centre. The official claimed that in the recent past, the top ten malwares observed were ‘ghost-push’, ‘avalanche-andromeda’, ‘downadup’ and ‘mirai’ among others and the government was able to contain the damage significantly.

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