A new tool developed by researchers at North Carolina University will enable users to identify malicious websites and code, according to a new report.

The open-source tool, called VisibleV8, enables the recording and tracking of programming language JavaScript while it runs, without signaling the websites that run it.

Designed to work specifically in the Chrome browser, VisibleV8 identifies malicious programs that would typically bypass malware detecting programs currently in use. In other browsers, malware detection systems make alterations to a website’s JavaScript code to determine how that code is being used, immediately and unintentionally alerting malicious malware to disguise itself before it can be identified as malicious. Operating in Chrome, VisibleV8 does not interface with the code, making detection extremely difficult, according to its developers.

Additionally, VisibleV8 creates behavior profiles for the sites it visits from the data gathered about how those sites use JavaScript. The combination of data and the profile is then applied by researchers to the identification of malicious sites as well as to scenarios for using JavaScript to weaken web browsers and misuse user information.

The paper, "VisibleV8: In-browser Monitoring of JavaScript in the Wild," will be presented at the ACM Internet Measurement Conference 2019, which will be held Oct. 21-23 in Amsterdam.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com