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honeypot-DSN06 - Honeypot-Aware Advanced Botnet...

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Honeypot-Aware Advanced Botnet Construction and Maintenance Cliff C. Zou Ryan Cunningham School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science University of Central Florida Orlando, FL 32816-2362 { czou,rcunning } @cs.ucf.edu Abstract Because “botnets” can be used for illicit financial gain, they have become quite popular in recent Internet attacks. “Honeypots” have been successfully deployed in many de- fense systems. Thus, attackers constructing and maintain- ing botnets will be forced to find ways to avoid honey- pot traps. In this paper, we present a hardware and soft- ware independent honeypot detection methodology based on the following assumption: security professionals de- ploying honeypots have liability constraints such that they cannot allow their honeypots to participate in real (or too many real) attacks. Based on this assumption, attackers can detect honeypots in their botnet by checking whether the compromised machines in the botnet can successfully send out unmodified malicious traffic to attackers’ sensors or whether the bot controller in their botnet can successfully relay potential attack commands. In addition, we present a novel “two-stage reconnaissance” worm that can auto- matically construct a peer-to-peer structured botnet and de- tect and remove infected honeypots during its propagation stage. Finally, we discuss some guidelines for defending against the general honeypot-aware attacks. 1 Introduction In the last ten years, Internet users have been attacked unremittingly by widespread email viruses and Internet- scanning worms. Some of the more devastating email viruses include Melissa in 1999, Love Letter in 2000, W32/Sircam in 2001, and MyDoom, Netsky and Bagle in 2004, etc. Similiarly damaging internet-scanning worms in- clude Code Red in 2001, Slammer, Blaster in 2003, Witty and Sassar in 2004 [6]. Strangely, we have not seen a major virus or worm outbreak since the Sassar worm in- cident in May 2004. This is probably not because the Inter- net is much more secure, but more likely because attackers no longer focus on infecting a large number of computers just to attract media attention. Instead, their attention has shifted to compromising and controlling victim computers, an attack scheme which provides more potential for per- sonal profit. This new and lucrative attack trend has produced a large number of botnets in the current Internet. A “ botnet ” is a network of computers that are compromised and con- trolled by an attacker [21]. Each computer is infected with a malicious program called a “bot”, which actively commu- nicates with other bots in the botnet or with several “ bot controllers ” to receive commands from the botnet owner. Attackers maintain complete control of their botnets, and can conduct Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, email spamming, keylogging, abusing online advertise- ments, spreading new malware, etc [21].
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