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Chris Kanich

Department of Computer Science

 Understanding Modern Cybercrime

Chris Kanich (University of California, San Diego)

 Tuesday, January 24, 2012

11 a.m., Room 1000 SEO



Over the past two decades, the Internet has become an essential tool in the lives of millions of people. Unfortunately, this outsize success has also attracted cybercriminals who exploit the Internet as a platform for scams, including sending unsolicited advertisements (spam), clogging inboxes and putting people's computers at risk of dangerous malware infections. Understanding the mechanisms and effectiveness of these scams is essential to effectively combat cybercrime. In this talk, I'll explain the modern spamming landscape and present two projects that help us better understand how cybercriminals make their money online. The first project uses the technique of botnet infiltration to examine a spam campaign from the point of view of the cybercriminals. From this vantage point, we can measure their operation in detail, including their advertisements' effectiveness, the worldwide use of spam filtering techniques, and the amount of respondents seeking to purchase their goods. The second project exploits information leaks on the part of some cybercriminals to learn about many facets of the modern affiliate-marketing based spam ecosystem, from estimating their worldwide gross revenue, to understanding the location of their customers and their most popular products. I'll also introduce future work in this space and explain some possibilities for upcoming evolutions in online scams.


Chris Kanich is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of California at San Diego in the Computer Science & Engineering Department.  His research interests lie within security and computer networks, with an emphasis on the economic and human elements of Internet security. He received a B.S. degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from Purdue University in 2005, and will complete his Ph.D. at UC San Diego in 2012.

Host: Jakob Eriksson
Assistant Professor