IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing

IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing (TDSC) is a bimonthly journal that publishes archival research results focusing on foundations, methodologies, and mechanisms that support the achievement—through design, modeling, and evaluation—of systems and networks that are dependable and secure to the desired degree without compromising performance. Read the full scope of TDSC

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From the September-October 2017 issue

Still Beheading Hydras: Botnet Takedowns Then and Now

By Yacin Nadji, Roberto Perdisci, and Manos Antonakakis

Featured article thumbnail imageDevices infected with malicious software typically form botnet armies under the influence of one or more command and control (C&C) servers. The botnet problem reached such levels where federal law enforcement agencies have to step in and take actions against botnets by disrupting (or “taking down”) their C&Cs, and thus their illicit operations. Lately, more and more private companies have started to independently take action against botnet armies, primarily focusing on their DNS-based C&Cs. While well-intentioned, their C&C takedown methodology is in most cases ad-hoc, and limited by the breadth of knowledge available around the malware that facilitates the botnet. With this paper, we aim to bring order, measure, and reason to the botnet takedown problem. We improve an existing takedown analysis system called rza. Specifically, we examine additional botnet takedowns, enhance the risk calculation to use botnet population counts, and include a detailed discussion of policy improvements that can be made to improve takedowns. As part of our system evaluation, we perform a postmortem analysis of the recent, Citadel, and No-IP takedowns.

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