A free web-based malware analysis tool powered by Shadowserver aims to shake up vendor-controlled and proprietary systems.

The Malwr tool is designed to provide security professionals with a free and customisable, open-source tool.

It is a front-end for the open source Cuckoo malware analysis sandbox and serves as an alternative for users who don't have the resources or time to operate a Cuckoo installation.

Cuckoo's Claudio Guarnieri said he created Malwr because he found free analysis tools lacking and commercial sandboxes too expensive.

“A lot of companies run [malware analysis] and it's becoming a really profitable market, leaving no space for free initiatives,” Guarnieri told SC Australia. He said that in the first 36 hours, Malwr received about 15,000 page views from 2,000 unique visitors who submitted around 150 files. Some 22 per cent of traffic related to attempted attacks.

While Malwr is running in a limited testing mode, Guarnieri said the Shadowserver resources underpinning the tool would allow it to scale to 10,000 analyses per day.

The Cuckoo sandbox was developed in 2010 as a Honeynet Project for Google's Summer of Code, and recommenced development for the 2011 Google initiative. Development of Malwr started in September last year, but Guarnieri said he always planned to build a web front-end for Cuckoo.

He said: “We would like also to get to a point where anyone running a Cuckoo node can link [their] own setup to our front-end, making it a fully fledged, crowd-distributed malware analysis network.

“It didn't take much work to get it together – most of the effort relies on trying to make Cuckoo a better product.”

A volunteer watchdog that tracks and reports the spread of malware, botnet and malicious activity on the internet, Shadowserver supported the project and supplied resources to it. Users will be able to refine Malwr by submitting code to Cuckoo.