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Attack Attribution

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  1. Attack Attribution Marc Dacier Sr. Director, Collaborative Advanced Research Dept. (CARD) Symantec Research Labs

  2. Overview Attack Attribution One example: the TRIAGE method (WOMBAT) Challenges, open issues Conclusions INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  3. Collaborative Advanced Research Dept. C A R D • CARD is part of Symantec Research Labs, within the CTO office. • Worldwide team with members located in the USA (Culver City, California and Herndon, Washington DC) as well as in Europe (France and Ireland). • Specificity: long term exploratory research carried out with external partners from academia and industry INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  4. What we do • 2 recently completed projects: • ANTIPHISH – EC funding (finished in June 2009) • EC-CAM – US (finished in September 2009) • 3 ongoing funded projects • WOMBAT (EC) • VAMPIRE (France) • NICE (US) • 2 new projects will start in 2010: • Minestrone (US) • VIS-SENSE (EC). INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  5. Attack Attribution …. • … is not about IP traceback • … is about identifying the root causes of observed attacks by linking them together thanks to common, external, contextual “fingerprints” INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  6. Analogy • Serial killers accomplish a ritual that leaves traces • Cybercriminals for efficiency reasons automate the various steps of their attack workflow and this leaves traces INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  7. The smiley face killer (?) Danger • "One swallow does not a summer make" Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics  (384 BC - 322 BC) INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  8. http://xkcd.com/587/ Danger (ctd.) • “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” Maslow's hammer law, The Psychology of Science, 1966 INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  9. Yes we can (find “things”) This is a worm These are botnets Bridging the gap between such anecdotal findings and some actionable knowledge is hard! These are the threats we should worry about This is a stealthy, localised, recurring event INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  10. Overview Attack Attribution One example: the TRIAGE method (WOMBAT) Challenges, open issues Conclusions INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  11. Foreword • What is presented here is the result of a joint collaboration between all WOMBAT partners over the last 28 months (see www.wombat-project.eu for the list of publications and deliverables) INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  12. The WOMBAT approach INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  13. Example of a WOMBAT sensor: the SGNET data enrichment framework Symantec ++ Behavioral Information AV identification statistics Code Injection information Malware Internet Anubis Generated alerts Clustering techniques SGNET dataset Models 13 INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  14. Towards automated attack attribution • Within WOMBAT, we have developed an automated framework that includes the expert knowledge in order to extract meaningful sets to reason about the modus operandi of the malicious actors: the TRIAGE framework • First application of that approach led to significant contributions in the latest Symantec ISTR Rogue AV report • Public deliverable D12 is available on line and contains 6 published peer reviewed papers on the topic as well as the rogue AV analysis technical report. • http://wombat-project.eu/WP5/FP7-ICT-216026-Wombat_WP5_D12_V01_RCA-Technical-survey.pdf INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  15. Big Picture (ctd.) INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  16. Names vs. IPs maps of Rogue AV sites INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  17. Idea behind the attribution method Try to connect the dots… 17 INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  18. TRIAGE 1) Triage (med.): process of prioritizing patients based on the severity of their condition • TRIAGE1 • = atTRIbution of Attack using Graph-based Event clustering • Multicriteria clustering method 18 INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  19. Successful attack attribution result Email addr. hidden by privacy protection services 750 domains registered over a span of 8 months Time 19 INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  20. Example (ctd.) 20 INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  21. So, why is it useful...? • Cyber criminality is a new business model • Financial profits can be huge (large scale) • Better organized - more systematic, automated procedures are used • TRIAGE can help to: • Get better insights into how cyber criminals operate, or how / when they change their tactics • Consequently, help improving detection or end-user protection systems • Automate the identification of “networks” of attackers • Unless they completely change their modus operandi for each campaign… • Go toward an early warning system • Ultimately, support law-enforcement for stopping emerging / ongoing attack phenomena 21 INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  22. Overview Attack Attribution One example: the TRIAGE method (WOMBAT) Challenges, open issues Conclusions INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  23. The need for data • Attack attribution is an emerging field • It requires a multi disciplinary approach and international collaboration • It requires access to stable, representative and diversified sets of data. • Everyone is welcome to host an SGNET sensor and benefit from the dataset and tools generated by the project. • The more sensors we can get, the more we will learn about the attacks. INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  24. The Symantec WINE initiative • Symantec owns a very rich amount of threats related datasets. • CARD is currently building an infrastructure to provide access to a sampled set of these data feeds. • External researchers are welcome to submit research proposals to gain access to this infrastructure, for free, on site. • CONTACT POINT: marc_dacier@symantec.com INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  25. Challenges and Open Issues • A truly multidisciplinary domain: • Computer security, networking, knowledge mining, visualisation, law, sociology, forensics, etc.. • Data can be private, confidential. • Anonymisation is unlikely to be the silver bullet we need. • Discovered knowledge can be sensitive ( from a technical, political, sociological or even business viewpoint). • Do we have the right places to publish? INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  26. BACK UP MATERIAL INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010

  27. References • Actionable Knowledge Discovery for Threats Intelligence Support Using a Multi-dimensional Data Mining Methodology, O.Thonnard (Royal Military Academy of Belgium) and M.Dacier (Symantec), Proc. of the IEEE Data Mining Workshops, 2008. ICDMW '08, Pisa, Italy, Dec. 15-19, 2008, • Behavioral Analysis of Zombie Armies, O. Thonnard, W. Mees (Royal Military Academy of Belgium) and M. Dacier (Symantec), Proc. of Cyber Warfare Conference (CWCon), Cooperative Cyber Defense Center Of Excellence (CCD-COE), Tallinn, Estonia, June 17-19, • Addressing the attack attribution problem using knowledge discovery and multi-criteria fuzzy decision-making, O. Thonnard, W. Mees (Royal Military Academy of Belgium) and M. Dacier (Symantec), Proc. of KDD’09, 15th ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, Workshop on CyberSecurity and Intelligence Informatics, Paris, France, June 28, 2009. • Honeypot traces forensics: the observation view point matters, V.-H. Pham (Eurecom) and M. Dacier (Symantec), Proc. of the 3rd International Conference on Network and System Security, Gold Coast, Australia, Oct. 19-21, 2009 INCO-TRUST/NSF workshop, New York, USA, May 4, 2010