Using honeypots to analyse anomalous Internet activities

Almotairi, Saleh Ibrahim Bakr (2009) Using honeypots to analyse anomalous Internet activities. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Monitoring Internet traffic is critical in order to acquire a good understanding of threats to computer and network security and in designing efficient computer security systems. Researchers and network administrators have applied several approaches to monitoring traffic for malicious content. These techniques include monitoring network components, aggregating IDS alerts, and monitoring unused IP address spaces. Another method for monitoring and analyzing malicious traffic, which has been widely tried and accepted, is the use of honeypots. Honeypots are very valuable security resources for gathering artefacts associated with a variety of Internet attack activities. As honeypots run no production services, any contact with them is considered potentially malicious or suspicious by definition. This unique characteristic of the honeypot reduces the amount of collected traffic and makes it a more valuable source of information than other existing techniques. Currently, there is insufficient research in the honeypot data analysis field. To date, most of the work on honeypots has been devoted to the design of new honeypots or optimizing the current ones. Approaches for analyzing data collected from honeypots, especially low-interaction honeypots, are presently immature, while analysis techniques are manual and focus mainly on identifying existing attacks. This research addresses the need for developing more advanced techniques for analyzing Internet traffic data collected from low-interaction honeypots. We believe that characterizing honeypot traffic will improve the security of networks and, if the honeypot data is handled in time, give early signs of new vulnerabilities or breakouts of new automated malicious codes, such as worms. The outcomes of this research include: • Identification of repeated use of attack tools and attack processes through grouping activities that exhibit similar packet inter-arrival time distributions using the cliquing algorithm; • Application of principal component analysis to detect the structure of attackers’ activities present in low-interaction honeypots and to visualize attackers’ behaviors; • Detection of new attacks in low-interaction honeypot traffic through the use of the principal component’s residual space and the square prediction error statistic; • Real-time detection of new attacks using recursive principal component analysis; • A proof of concept implementation for honeypot traffic analysis and real time monitoring.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 31833
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Clark, Andrew, Mohay, George, & Zimmermann, Jacob
Keywords: Internet traffic analysis, low-interaction honeypots, packet inter-arrival times, principal component analysis, square prediction error, residual space
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Institutes > Information Security Institute
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 19 Apr 2010 00:00
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:56

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