A new project has been created by anti-phishers to crack down on malware.

Volunteers behind the Phishing Incident Reporting and Termination Squad (PIRT) have created the Malware Incident Reporting and Termination Squad (MIRT).

MIRT will work in much the same way as PIRT, by inviting people to submit samples of potentially malicious code to a database of "unknown files", which are then analysed and reverse-engineered by MIRT's team of volunteers. MIRT then will publish reports on the malicious software and make its findings known to authorities and security companies, said leader of the project Paul Laudanski, also the owner of Computer Cops.

This same approach has worked pretty well for PIRT, said Laudanski. To date, PIRT has received 80,000 submissions from volunteers, and it has handed the FBI details on about 300 email "drop accounts" where information was being delivered after successful phishing attacks.

Laudanski believes that MIRT's volunteer approach will allow the project to pick up information that the big anti-virus companies may be missing. "There are a lot of places that we can tap into that give us a grassroots look at the malware that the antivirus vendors don't get," he said.

There is no shortage of malicious software to be scrutinized. Symantec said recently that it counted 6,784 new worms and viruses in the first six months of 2006.