Publication
CODASPY 2016
Conference paper

Detecting malicious exploit kits using tree-based similarity searches

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Abstract

Unfortunately, the computers we use for everyday activities can be infiltrated while simply browsing innocuous sites that, unbeknownst to the website owner, may be laden with malicious advertisements. So-called malvertising, redirects browsers to web-based exploit kits that are designed to find vulnerabilities in the browser and subsequently download malicious payloads. We propose a new approach for detecting such malfeasance by leveraging the inherent structural patterns in HTTP traffic to classify exploit kit instances. Our key insight is that an exploit kit leads the browser to download payloads using multiple requests from malicious servers. We capture these interactions in a "tree-like" form, and using a scalable index of malware samples, model the detection process as a subtree similarity search problem. The approach is evaluated on 3800 hours of real-world traffic including over 4 billion flows and reduces false positive rates by four orders of magnitude over current state-of-the-art techniques with comparable true positive rates. We show that our approach can operate in near real-time, and is able to handle peak traffic levels on a large enterprise network - identifying 28 new exploit kit instances during our analysis period.

Date

09 Mar 2016

Publication

CODASPY 2016

Authors

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