Villains beware. Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have created the mother of all supercomputers that could be used in the fight against botnets and other massive computer attacks. Their supercomputer, called Thunderbird is made up of a 4,480-node high performance cluster. Each cluster ran 250 virtual machines, each running the Linux kernel, for a total of 1.12 million.
Prior to this feat, the best they could manage was a measly 20,000 kernels. Aside from the huge Enemy Territory bot army you could create, the virtualized kernels could be used for more real-world uses like modeling climate change, developing new medicine, and monitoring large cyberattacks.
“Eventually, we would like to be able to emulate the computer network of a small nation, or even one as large as the U.S., in order to ‘virtualize’ and monitor a cyberattack,” [Ron] Minnich said in a statement.
A botnet is an automated malware program that is unknowingly installed on user computers throughout the world, sometimes numbering in the thousands. The bots collectively strike at a predetermined time, wreaking havoc on computer networks, even large ones. Running virtualized clusters will allow researchers to study the botnet behavior in a closed environment.