Diffusion of White-Hat Botnet Using Lifespan with Controllable Ripple Effect for Malware Removal in IoT Networks

Sensors (Basel). 2023 Jan 16;23(2):1018. doi: 10.3390/s23021018.


Self-propagating malware has been infecting thousands of IoT devices and causing security breaches worldwide. Mitigating and cleaning self-propagating malware is important but challenging because they propagate unpredictably. White-hat botnets have been used to combat self-propagating malware with the concept of fight fire-with-fire. However, white-hat botnets can also overpopulate and consume the resource of IoT devices. Later, lifespan was introduced as a self-destruct measure to restrain white-hat botnets' overpopulation, but unable to change based on real-time situations. This paper proposes a method for diffusing white-hat botnets by controlling lifespan. The main contribution of this paper is that the method uses a dynamic lifespan that increases and decreases based on the congregation's situation of the self-propagating malware and white-hat botnets. The method tackles the problem of overpopulation of white-hat botnets since they can self-propagate by controlling the ripple effect that widens the white-hat botnet's diffusion area but suppresses the number of white-hat botnets to achieve a 'zero-botnet' situation. The effectiveness in reducing the overpopulation rate was confirmed. The experiment result showed that the ripple effect could reduce the number of white-hat botnets in the network by around 80%, depending on different control parameters.

Keywords: IoT network; botnet defense system; lifespan; malware; ripple effect; white-hat botnet.

MeSH terms

  • Software*

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