NKill aims to catalog vulnerabilities of every computer

The NKill database is updated daily and currently includes all .com, .org and .net domain names.

A security consultant is developing a search engine called NKill that aims to track the security vulnerabilities on every computer connected to the Internet, with the ability for users to search for vulnerable computers in a country or inside a specific company.

NKill, which currently covers all .com, .org and .net domain names, will be made available to the public within one month or so, said Anthony Zboralski, founder of Bellua Asia-Pacific, speaking Wednesday at the Hack In The Box Security Conference in Dubai.

Compiling a record of all of the vulnerabilities on every computer requires a TCP port scan of the entire Internet, a process that can take between eight and 16 hours using a 100M bps connection, Zboralski said.

These scans return detailed information, called banners, that include the version numbers of operating systems and applications that are running on each computer or server. While this information allows researchers to determine what vulnerabilities the computers have, it doesn't tell them who owns the computer.

"The main problem with scanning the Internet is that you end up with a bunch of IP addresses, but if you want to know if one of your customers is using one of these addresses it's really difficult," Zboralski said. "We could scan the entire Internet, but we didn't know which companies were vulnerable."

NKill solves this problem by matching IP addresses with domain names and the companies that use them. The database currently includes 102 million domain names and is updated daily. Users can search the database for computers with a specific vulnerability or search by company to identify vulnerabilities that affect its computers.

The database also tracks how vulnerabilities change over time, giving users a way to see how companies patch and maintain their systems over time or compare the level of computer security between different companies, Zboralski said.

Down the road, Zboralski hopes to make NKill an open-source project and plans to add more features, such as an iPhone application for mobile access and an API (application programming interface) that allows NKill to be integrated with other tools. He's also looking for a way to integrate whois data with NKill that would allow researchers to have a more detailed picture of all of the domains operated by a company or government.

"It would also be cool to show where the machines are using Google Maps," he said, adding that he's looking for volunteers to help out with the project.

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Sumner Lemon

IDG News Service
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