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## reblogging: the diurnal Internet and DNS backscatter

We are happy to share that two of our older topics have appeared more recently in other venues.

Our animations of the diurnal Internet, originally seen in our 2014 ACM IMC paper and our blog posts, was noticed by Gerald Smith who used it to start a discussion with seventh-grade classes in Mahe, India and (I think) Indiana, USA as part of his Fullbright work. It’s great to see research work that useful to middle-schoolers!

Kensuke Fukuda recently posted about our work on identifying IPv6 scanning with DNS backscatter at the APNIC blog. This work was originally published at the 2018 ACM IMC and posted in our blog. It’s great to see that work get out to a new audience.

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## new technical report “Plumb: Efficient Processing of Multi-User Pipelines (Poster)”

We released a new technical report “Plumb: Efficient Processing of Multi-User Pipelines (Poster)”, by Abdul Qadeer and John Heidemann, as ISI-TR-731.  This work was originally presented at ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing (the poster abstract is available at ACM). The poster abstract with a small version of the poster is available at https://www.isi.edu/publications/trpublic/pdfs/isi-tr-731.pdf

From the abstract:

As the field of big data analytics matures, workflows are increasingly complex and often include components that are shared by different users. Individual workflows often include multiple stages, and when groups build on each other’s work it is easy to lose track of computation that may be shared across different groups.

The contribution of this poster is to provide an organization-wide processing substrate Plumb that can be used to solve commonly occurring problems and to achieve a common goal. Plumb makes multi-user sharing a first-class concern by providing pipeline-graph abstraction. This abstraction is simple and based on fundamental model of input-processing-output but is powerful to capture processing and data duplication. Plumb then employs best available solutions to tackle problems of large-block processing under structural and computational skew without user intervention.

We expect to release the Plumb software this fall; please contact us if you have questions or interest in using it.

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## new paper “Precise Detection of Content Reuse in the Web” to appear in ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review

We have published a new paper “Precise Detection of Content Reuse in the Web” by Calvin Ardi and John Heidemann, in the ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review (Volume 49 Issue 2, April 2019) newsletter.

From the abstract:

With vast amount of content online, it is not surprising that unscrupulous entities “borrow” from the web to provide content for advertisements, link farms, and spam. Our insight is that cryptographic hashing and fingerprinting can efficiently identify content reuse for web-size corpora. We develop two related algorithms, one to automatically discover previously unknown duplicate content in the web, and the second to precisely detect copies of discovered or manually identified content. We show that bad neighborhoods, clusters of pages where copied content is frequent, help identify copying in the web. We verify our algorithm and its choices with controlled experiments over three web datasets: Common Crawl (2009/10), GeoCities (1990s–2000s), and a phishing corpus (2014). We show that our use of cryptographic hashing is much more precise than alternatives such as locality-sensitive hashing, avoiding the thousands of false-positives that would otherwise occur. We apply our approach in three systems: discovering and detecting duplicated content in the web, searching explicitly for copies of Wikipedia in the web, and detecting phishing sites in a web browser. We show that general copying in the web is often benign (for example, templates), but 6–11% are commercial or possibly commercial. Most copies of Wikipedia (86%) are commercialized (link farming or advertisements). For phishing, we focus on PayPal, detecting 59% of PayPal-phish even without taking on intentional cloaking.

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## new conference paper “Who Knocks at the IPv6 Door? Detecting IPv6 Scanning” at ACM IMC 2018

We have published a new paper “Who Knocks at the IPv6 Door? Detecting IPv6 Scanning” by Kensuke Fukuda and John Heidemann, in the ACM Internet Measurements Conference (IMC 2018) in Boston, Mass., USA.

From the abstract:

DNS backscatter detects internet-wide activity by looking for common reverse DNS lookups at authoritative DNS servers that are high in the DNS hierarchy. Both DNS backscatter and monitoring unused address space (darknets or network telescopes) can detect scanning in IPv4, but with IPv6’s vastly larger address space, darknets become much less effective. This paper shows how to adapt DNS backscatter to IPv6. IPv6 requires new classification rules, but these reveal large network services, from cloud providers and CDNs to specific services such as NTP and mail. DNS backscatter also identifies router interfaces suggesting traceroute-based topology studies. We identify 16 scanners per week from DNS backscatter using observations from the B-root DNS server, with confirmation from backbone traffic observations or blacklists. After eliminating benign services, we classify another 95 originators in DNS backscatter as potential abuse. Our work also confirms that IPv6 appears to be less carefully monitored than IPv4.

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## new conference paper “When the Dike Breaks: Dissecting DNS Defenses During DDoS” at ACM IMC 2018

We have published a new paper “When the Dike Breaks: Dissecting DNS Defenses During DDoS” in the ACM Internet Measurements Conference (IMC 2018) in Boston, Mass., USA.

From the abstract:

The Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS) is a frequent target of Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, but such attacks have had very different outcomes—some attacks have disabled major public websites, while the external effects of other attacks have been minimal. While on one hand the DNS protocol is relatively simple, the \emph{system} has many moving parts, with multiple levels of caching and retries and replicated servers. This paper uses controlled experiments to examine how these mechanisms affect DNS resilience and latency, exploring both the client side’s DNS \emph{user experience}, and server-side traffic. We find that, for about 30\% of clients, caching is not effective. However, when caches are full they allow about half of clients to ride out server outages that last less than cache lifetimes, Caching and retries together allow up to half of the clients to tolerate DDoS attacks longer than cache lifetimes, with 90\% query loss, and almost all clients to tolerate attacks resulting in 50\% packet loss. While clients may get service during an attack, tail-latency increases for clients. For servers, retries during DDoS attacks increase normal traffic up to $8\times$. Our findings about caching and retries help explain why users see service outages from some real-world DDoS events, but minimal visible effects from others.

Datasets from this paper are available at no cost and are listed at https://ant.isi.edu/datasets/dns/#Moura18b_data.

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## new workshop paper “Leveraging Controlled Information Sharing for Botnet Activity Detection”

We have published a new paper “Leveraging Controlled Information Sharing for Botnet Activity Detection” in the Workshop on Traffic Measurements for Cybersecurity (WTMC 2018) in Budapest, Hungary, co-located with ACM SIGCOMM 2018.

From the abstract of our paper:

Today’s malware often relies on DNS to enable communication with command-and-control (C&C). As defenses that block traffic improve, malware use sophisticated techniques to hide this traffic, including “fast flux” names and Domain-Generation Algorithms (DGAs). Detecting this kind of activity requires analysis of DNS queries in network traffic, yet these signals are sparse. As bot countermeasures grow in sophistication, detecting these signals increasingly requires the synthesis of information from multiple sites. Yet *sharing security information across organizational boundaries* to date has been infrequent and ad hoc because of unknown risks and uncertain benefits. In this paper, we take steps towards formalizing cross-site information sharing and quantifying the benefits of data sharing. We use a case study on DGA-based botnet detection to evaluate how sharing cybersecurity data can improve detection sensitivity and allow the discovery of malicious activity with greater precision.

The relevant software is open-sourced and freely available at https://ant.isi.edu/retrofuture.

This paper is joint work between Calvin Ardi and John Heidemann from USC/ISI, with additional support from collaborators and Colorado State University and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

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## new technical report “Detecting IoT Devices in the Internet (Extended)”

We have released a new technical report “Detecting IoT Devices in the Internet (Extended)” as ISI-TR-726.

From the abstract of our technical report:

Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks launched from compromised Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices have shown how vulnerable the Internet is to large-scale DDoS attacks. To understand the risks of these attacks requires learning about these IoT devices: where are they? how many are there? how are they changing? This paper describes three new methods to find IoT devices on the Internet: server IP addresses in traffic, server names in DNS queries, and manufacturer information in TLS certificates. Our primary methods (IP addresses and DNS names) use knowledge of servers run by the manufacturers of these devices. We have developed these approaches with 10 device models from 7 vendors. Our third method uses TLS certificates obtained by active scanning. We have applied our algorithms to a number of observations. Our IP-based algorithms see at least 35 IoT devices on a college campus, and 122 IoT devices in customers of a regional IXP. We apply our DNSbased algorithm to traffic from 5 root DNS servers from 2013 to 2018, finding huge growth (about 7×) in ISPlevel deployment of 26 device types. DNS also shows similar growth in IoT deployment in residential households from 2013 to 2017. Our certificate-based algorithm finds 254k IP cameras and network video recorders from 199 countries around the world.

We make operational traffic we captured from 10 IoT devices we own public at https://ant.isi.edu/datasets/iot/. We also use operational traffic of 21 IoT devices shared by University of New South Wales at http://149.171.189.1/.

This technical report is joint work of Hang Guo and  John Heidemann from USC/ISI.

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## New workshop paper “IP-Based IoT Device Detection”

We have published a new paper “IP-Based IoT Device Detection” in the Second ACM Workshop on Internet-of-Things Security and Privacy (IoTS&P 2018) in Budapest, Hungary, co-located with SIGCOMM 2018.

From the abstract of our  paper:

Recent IoT-based DDoS attacks have exposed how vulnerable the Internet can be to millions of insufficiently secured IoT devices. To understand the risks of these attacks requires
learning about these IoT devices—where are they, how many are there, how are they changing? In this paper, we propose
a new method to find IoT devices in Internet to begin to assess this threat. Our approach requires observations of flow-level network traffic and knowledge of servers run by
the manufacturers of the IoT devices. We have developed our approach with 10 device models by 7 vendors and controlled
experiments. We apply our algorithm to observations from 6 days of Internet traffic at a college campus and partial traffic
from an IXP to detect IoT devices.

We make operational traffic we captured from 10 IoT devices we own public at https://ant.isi.edu/datasets/iot/. We also use operational traffic of 21 IoT devices shared by University of New South Wales at http://149.171.189.1/.

This paper is joint work of Hang Guo and  John Heidemann from USC/ISI.

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## new technical report “When the Dike Breaks: Dissecting DNS Defenses During DDoS (extended)”

We released a new technical report “When the Dike Breaks: Dissecting DNS Defenses During DDoS (extended)”, ISI-TR-725, available at https://www.isi.edu/~johnh/PAPERS/Moura18a.pdf.

From the abstract:

The Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS) is a frequent target of Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, but such attacks have had very different outcomes—some attacks have disabled major public websites, while the external effects of other attacks have been minimal. While on one hand the DNS protocol is a relatively simple, the system has many moving parts, with multiple levels of caching and retries and replicated servers. This paper uses controlled experiments to examine how these mechanisms affect DNS resilience and latency, exploring both the client side’s DNS user experience, and server-side traffic. We find that, for about about 30% of clients, caching is not effective. However, when caches are full they allow about half of clients to ride out server outages, and caching and retries allow up to half of the clients to tolerate DDoS attacks that result in 90% query loss, and almost all clients to tolerate attacks resulting in 50% packet loss. The cost of such attacks to clients are greater median latency. For servers, retries during DDoS attacks increase normal traffic up to 8x. Our findings about caching and retries can explain why some real-world DDoS cause service outages for users while other large attacks have minimal visible effects.

Datasets from this paper are available at no cost and are listed at https://ant.isi.edu/datasets/dns/#Moura18a_data.

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## new conference paper “Detecting ICMP Rate Limiting in the Internet” in PAM 2018

We have published a new conference “Detecting ICMP Rate Limiting in the Internet” in PAM 2018 (the Passive and Active Measurement Conference) in Berlin, Germany.

From the abstract of our conference paper:

Comparing model and experimental effects of rate limiting (Figure 4 from [Guo18a] )
ICMP active probing is the center of many network measurements. Rate limiting to ICMP traffic, if undetected, could distort measurements and create false conclusions. To settle this concern, we look systematically for ICMP rate limiting in the Internet. We create FADER, a new algorithm that can identify rate limiting from user-side traces with minimal new measurement traffic. We validate the accuracy of FADER with many different network configurations in testbed experiments and show that it almost always detects rate limiting. With this confidence, we apply our algorithm to a random sample of the whole Internet, showing that rate limiting exists but that for slow probing rates, rate-limiting is very rare. For our random sample of 40,493 /24 blocks (about 2% of the responsive space), we confirm 6 blocks (0.02%!) see rate limiting at 0.39 packets/s per block. We look at higher rates in public datasets and suggest that fall-off in responses as rates approach 1 packet/s per /24 block is consistent with rate limiting. We also show that even very slow probing (0.0001 packet/s) can encounter rate limiting of NACKs that are concentrated at a single router near the prober.

Datasets we used in this paper are all public. ISI Internet Census and Survey data (including it71w, it70w, it56j, it57j and it58j census and survey) are available at https://ant.isi.edu/datasets/index.html. ZMap 50-second experiments data are from their WOOT 14 paper and can be obtained from ZMap authors upon request.

This conference report is joint work of Hang Guo and  John Heidemann from USC/ISI.