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CyLab News

CyLab’s Lorrie Cranor stresses importance of user testing on privacy policies

Ten years ago, CyLab graduate student Aleecia McDonald walked into Lorrie Cranor’s office and asked, “What would happen if everybody read all of the privacy policies on all of the websites they visit?” Cranor swiftly responded, “Don’t be ridiculous, that would never happen.” McDonald’s question, however, piqued Cranor’s interest: Why would that never happen?

Upcoming CyLab Event

Distinguished Seminar: Reasoning about Internet abuse through the eyes of DNS

Date: March 6, 2017
Speaker: Manos Antonakakis, Assistant Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology
Time & Location: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
DEC, CIC Building, Pittsburgh
Abstract: The Domain Name System (DNS) is a critical component of the Internet. The critical nature of DNS often makes it the target of direct cyber-attacks and other forms of abuse. Cyber-criminals rely heavily upon the reliability and scalability of the DNS protocol to serve as an agile platform for their illicit network operations. For example, modern malware and Internet fraud techniques rely upon the DNS to locate their remote command-and-control (C&C) servers through which new commands from the attacker are issued, serve as exfiltration points for the information stolen from the victim's computer and to manage subsequent updates to their malicious toolset. In this talk I will discuss how we can reason about Internet abuse using DNS. First I will argue why the algorithmic quantification of DNS reputation and trust is fundamental for understanding the security of our Internet communications. Then, I will examine how DNS traffic relates to malware communications. Among other things, we will reason about data-driven methods that can be used to reliably detect malware communications that employ Domain Name Generation Algorithms (DGAs) --- even in the complete absence of the malware sample. Finally, I will conclude my talk by proving a five year overview of malware network communications. Through this study we will see that (as network security researchers and practitioners) we are still approaching the very simple detection problems fundamentally in the wrong way.