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Thursday, August 11 • 5:30pm - 6:00pm
Towards Measuring and Mitigating Social Engineering Software Download Attacks

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Most modern malware infections happen through the browser, typically as the result of a drive-by or social engineering attack. While there have been numerous studies on measuring and defending against drive-by downloads, little attention has been dedicated to studying social engineering attacks.

In this paper, we present the first systematic study of web-based social engineering (SE) attacks that successfully lure users into downloading malicious and unwanted software. To conduct this study, we collect and reconstruct more than two thousand examples of in-thewild SE download attacks from live network traffic. Via a detailed analysis of these attacks, we attain the following results: (i) we develop a categorization system to identify and organize the tactics typically employed by attackers to gain the user’s attention and deceive or persuade them into downloading malicious and unwanted applications; (ii) we reconstruct the web path followed by the victims and observe that a large fraction of SE download attacks are delivered via online advertisement, typically served from “low tier” ad networks; (iii) we measure the characteristics of the network infrastructure used to deliver such attacks and uncover a number of features that can be leveraged to distinguish between SE and benign (or non-SE) software downloads.

avatar for Mustaque Ahamad

Mustaque Ahamad

Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology (Organization)
Mustaque Ahamad is a professor of Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He served as director of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center from 2004-2012. His research interests include cyber security and distributed systems. He co-founded Pindrop Security and... Read More →
avatar for Manos Antonakakis

Manos Antonakakis

Assistant Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology

Roberto Perdisci

See at http://roberto.perdisci.com/

Thursday August 11, 2016 5:30pm - 6:00pm PDT
Zilker Ballroom 3

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