On March 31, 2012, the Honeynet Project published a draft Code of Conduct and a statement about Ethics in Computer Security Research: Kelihos.B/Hlux.B botnet takedown.
The initial draft of the Code of Conduct was drawn from concepts described in the The Menlo Report: Ethical Principles Guiding Information and Communication Technology Research that was published in the United States Federal Register on December 28, 2011 for public comment. The Code of Conduct was refined through discussion within the Legal and Ethics Committee and volunteer Honeynet Project members to help make it workable within the structure of the Honeynet Project membership for evaluating the ethics of future research activities.
Earlier, we posted about our operation on the Kelihos.B/Hlux.B botnet takedown that was conducted with by security experts from Dell SecureWorks, CrowdStrike, Kaspersky, and the Honeynet Project. On initial view, the operation seems very clear cut: the bad guys are running a botnet that is doing havoc on the Internet; on the other side, are the good guys that have found a way to disable the botnet.
The situation is much more nuanced.
On Wednesday, March 21, 2012, an operation by security experts from Dell SecureWorks, CrowdStrike, Kaspersky, and the Honeynet Project was initiated to sinkhole infected computers in the Kelihos.B/Hlux.B botnet. The objective of this action was to remove from the attacker’s control all computers currently infected with the Kelihos.B/Hlux.B malware by poisoning the peer lists and routing tables in the lower layers of command and control. This will prevent the botnet operator from doing any more harm with this set of infected computers.