Botnets, which are networks of malware-infected machines that are controlled by an adversary, are the root cause of a large number of security threats on the Internet. A particularly sophisticated and insidious type of bot is Torpig, which is a malware program that is designed to harvest sensitive information (such as bank account and credit card data) from its victims. In this talk, I will report on our efforts to take control of the Torpig botnet for ten days. Over this period, we observed more than 180 thousand infections and recorded more than 70 GB of data that the bots collected.
While botnets have been hijacked before, the Torpig botnet exhibits certain properties that make the analysis of the data particularly interesting. First, it is possible (with reasonable accuracy) to identify unique bot infections and relate that number to the more than 1.2 million IP addresses that contacted our command and control server during the ten day period. This shows that botnet estimates that are based on IP addresses are likely to report inflated numbers. Second, the Torpig botnet is large, targets a variety of applications, and gathers a rich and diverse set of information from the infected victims. This allowed us to perform interesting data analysis that goes well beyond simply counting the number of stolen credit cards. In this talk I will discuss the analysis that we performed on the data collected and the lessons learned from the analysis, as well as from the process of obtaining (and losing) the botnet.
Richard A. Kemmerer is the Computer Science Leadership Professor and a past Department Chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Kemmerer received the B.S. degree in Mathematics from the Pennsylvania State University in 1966, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1976 and 1979, respectively. His research interests include formal specification and verification of systems, computer system security and reliability, programming and specification language design, and software engineering.
Dr. Kemmerer is a Fellow of the IEEE Computer Society, a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, and he is the 2007 recipient of The Applied Security Associates Distinguished Practitioner Award. He is a member of the IFIP Working Group 11.3 on Database Security, and a member of the International Association for Cryptologic Research. He is a past Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, and he has served on the editorial boards of the ACM Computing Surveys and IEEE Security and Privacy and on the Board of Governors of the IEEE Computer Society. He served on Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Academic Advisory Board (2002-2010) and on the National Science Foundations/CISE Advisory Board (2002-2004).
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