Malware Intelligence Software Rewards Users With Tokens for Data Sharing

Shared data will help create tools to prevent malware attacks, like “an Internet-wide neighborhood watch”


Blockworks Exclusive art by axel rangel


key takeaways

  • Users who install the browser plug-in will be rewarded with “nectar” tokens
  • Large corporations are currently the only ones collecting this type of data

Cybersecurity marketplace PolySwarm has launched a browser plug-in that allows its customers to earn its native token nectar (NCT) while surfing the internet.

Polyswarm uses crowdsourcing to identify threats for its enterprise customers including Microsoft, Verizon and eBay. The new plug-in will give PolySwarm access to customer data that can then help the company create tools to prevent malware attacks.

Steve Bassi, PolySwarm’s founder and CEO, told Blockworks he created the cybersecurity marketplace for himself and other security experts to earn “more revenue from detection tools that were previously going unused.”

“My team and I kept building individual detection tools for engagements…but they just sat on a shelf after the engagement,” he said.

“We built PolySwarm so these tools, and many others built by security experts around the world, would be useful detecting the same malware from the same bad guys, but for a broader audience and accessible in one place,” Bassi said.

The latest extension NectarNet asks users to contribute their unique vantage points on the Internet and add to the 500k-1M malware samples that PolySwarm already produces. The plugin can be installed on Chrome, Brave and Firefox and users must register it to their PolySwarm account. 

Bassi said that the data collected can help determine what malicious domain name an IP address was paired with in a specific part of the world and at a specific time. 

“This information can tell the cybersecurity pro a lot more about a specific malware infection and the attack infrastructure behind it,” he said. “By submitting this DNS data as a NectarNet user browses, they sort of serve as an Internet-wide neighborhood watch.”

Large corporations including Comcast, CloudFare and Google are the only companies that are currently collecting this type of data. 

“Users don’t get paid for their data even if it is helpful,” Bassi said.

“NectarNet rewards users for contributing this data and amps up the reward when it connects with some malware intel our customers are really interested in.”

At the time of writing, PolySwarm’s NCT token currently has a market capitalization of about $28 million and is trading at $0.018

“Users should be excited because it’s really the first time we’re paying normal Internet users for their cyber security-relevant data,” Bassi said. “Passive DNS data sets are getting harder to access as the big companies centralize them and/or make them too expensive for small to midsize cybersecurity teams to afford.”

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