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new conference paper “Low-Rate, Flow-Level Periodicity Detection” at Global Internet 2011

Visualization of low-rate periodicity, before and after installation of a keylogger.  [Bartlett11a, figure 3]
Visualization of low-rate periodicity, before and after installation of a keylogger. [Bartlett11a, figure 3]
The paper “Low-Rate, Flow-Level Periodicity Detection”, by Genevieve Bartlett, John Heidemann, and Christos Papadopoulos is being presented at IEEE Global Internet 2011 in Shanghai, China this week. The full text is available at http://www.isi.edu/~johnh/PAPERS/Bartlett11a.pdf.

The abstract summarizes the work:

As desktops and servers become more complicated, they employ an increasing amount of automatic, non-user initiated communication. Such communication can be good (OS updates, RSS feed readers, and mail polling), bad (keyloggers, spyware, and botnet command-and-control), or ugly (adware or unauthorized peer-to-peer applications). Communication in these applications is often regular, but with very long periods, ranging from minutes to hours. This infrequent communication and the complexity of today’s systems makes these applications difficult for users to detect and diagnose. In this paper we present a new approach to identify low-rate periodic network traffic and changes in such regular communication. We employ signal-processing techniques, using discrete wavelets implemented as a fully decomposed, iterated filter bank. This approach not only detects low-rate periodicities, but also identifies approximate times when traffic changed. We implement a self-surveillance application that externally identifies changes to a user’s machine, such as interruption of periodic software updates, or an installation of a keylogger.

The datasets used in this paper are available on request, and through PREDICT.

An expanded version of the paper is available as a technical report “Using low-rate flow periodicities in anomaly detection” by Bartlett, Heidemann and Papadopoulos. Technical Report ISI-TR-661, USC/Information Sciences Institute, Jul 2009. http://www.isi.edu/~johnh/PAPERS/Bartlett09a.pdf

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Paper at Global Internet 2010

Chris Wilcox presented a paper titled “Correlating Spam Activity with IP Address Characteristics” In Global Inernet 2010. The paper uses Lander survey data as well as spam data from eSoft.

Abstract: It is well known that spam bots mostly utilize compromised machines with certain address characteristics, such as dynamically allocated addresses, machines in specific geographic areas and IP ranges from AS’ with more tolerant spam policies. Such machines tend to be less diligently administered and may exhibit less stability, more volatility, and shorter uptimes. However, few studies have attempted to quantify how such spambot address characteristics compare with non-spamming hosts.
Quantifying these characteristics may help provide important information for comprehensive spam mitigation.
We use two large datasets, namely a commercial blacklist
and an Internet-wide address visibility study to quantify address characteristics of spam and non-spam networks. We find that spam networks exhibit significantly less availability and uptime, and higher volatility than non-spam networks. In addition, we conduct a collateral damage study of a common practice where an ISP blocks the entire /24 prefix if spammers are detected in that range. We find that such a policy blacklists a significant portion of legitimate mail servers belonging to the same prefix.

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new conference paper “On the Characteristics and Reasons of Long-lived Internet Flows” at IMC

The paper “On the Characteristics and Reasons of Long-lived Internet Flows” was accepted by IMC’10 in Melbourne, Australia (available at http://www.isi.edu/~johnh/PAPERS/Quan10a.html).

From the abstract:

Prior studies of Internet traffic have considered traffic at different resolutions and time scales: packets and flows for hours or days, aggregate packet statistics for days or weeks, and hourly trends for months. However, little is known about the long-term behavior of individual flows. In this paper, we study individual flows (as defined by the 5-tuple of protocol, source and destination IP address and port) over days and weeks. While the vast majority of flows are short, and most bytes are in short flows, we find that about 20% of the overall bytes are carried in flows that last longer than 10 minutes, and flows lasting 100 minutes or longer make up 2% of traffic. We show that long-lived flows are qualitatively different from short flows: they are generally slower, less bursty, and are due to different applications and protocols. We investigate the causes of short- and long-lived flows, and show that the traffic mix varies significantly depending on duration time scale, with computer-to-computer traffic more and more dominating in larger time scales.

Citation: Lin Quan and John Heidemann. On the Characteristics and Reasons of Long-lived Internet Flows. In Proceedings of the ACM Internet Measurement Conference. Melbourne, Australia, ACM. November, 2010. <http://www.isi.edu/~johnh/PAPERS/Quan10a.html>.