Video makes global botnet pandemic look pretty

Graphic representation of botnet activity makes scope of malware threat much more clear.

It's a little disturbing that I actually find this attractive, not just interesting. Data-loss prevention vendor Unveillance, which published a map of global malware distribution in March, posted an even more graphic illustration of how widespread and how busy botnets really are.

In Unveillance' video there are no national borders, platform incompatibilities, arguments about who wrote a bit of malware or whether what they're doing with a botnet is ethical or who isn't doing enough to stop the spread of the pandemic and who will suffer by it.

There is only the activity of botnets talking to each other, asking controllers for instructions, attacking targets, seducing victims and chattering constantly to other computers – I am here. I am me. Are you there? Where? You are there? That is you? I am here. Where are you? Over and over and over because without constant assurance, none of them know the others exist; most don't even know whether they exist themselves.

They do, the Unveillance video shows, by recording a single minute of all the chatter of all the botnets in the world, laid out against a NASA photo of Earth that couldn't show the Internet or the impact of the Internet, let alone all those botnets and their magpie prattle of uncertainty.

Unveillance took one minute of monitoring data on all the botnet nodes in the world that could be geolocated, then snipped off data representing chatter between 9:00 and 9:01 a.m. June 11, 2012.

Then it parsed the geolocation, time and communications data to show where each node was, converted the data to show where on the globe each outburst was located, and slowed the whole thing down to one fifth it's actual speed so humans could see the communication as well.

The result has the same creepy-crawly feeling as as close-up videos of a house infested with bugs, but that fades with a little denial and a little more volume on the soothing soundtrack, Unveillance must have clipped from an instructional video teaching aromatherapy.

Click on Visualizing Botnets, Cont'd, which nukes the Earth as well as its security from the picture, and the effect is even more pronounced.

Except for the lack of hallucinogenic and spaced-out guys named "Man" or "Dude," the result is very close to what Baby Boomers must have flocked to planetarium Pink Floyd laser-light shows to see.

The biggest danger in laser-light shows, other than overdoses, would have been staring into a laser for too long.

With this show the audience doesn’t have to do anything to experience the danger as well as the pretty colors. The whole point is that the danger from these pretties comes to you instead.

It's a lot easier to just watch video of infested houses. Things that are dangerous, sneaky and mean should not also be pretty.

Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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