Visible to the public Biblio

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2021-01-15
Zhang, N., Ebrahimi, M., Li, W., Chen, H..  2020.  A Generative Adversarial Learning Framework for Breaking Text-Based CAPTCHA in the Dark Web. 2020 IEEE International Conference on Intelligence and Security Informatics (ISI). :1—6.

Cyber threat intelligence (CTI) necessitates automated monitoring of dark web platforms (e.g., Dark Net Markets and carding shops) on a large scale. While there are existing methods for collecting data from the surface web, large-scale dark web data collection is commonly hindered by anti-crawling measures. Text-based CAPTCHA serves as the most prohibitive type of these measures. Text-based CAPTCHA requires the user to recognize a combination of hard-to-read characters. Dark web CAPTCHA patterns are intentionally designed to have additional background noise and variable character length to prevent automated CAPTCHA breaking. Existing CAPTCHA breaking methods cannot remedy these challenges and are therefore not applicable to the dark web. In this study, we propose a novel framework for breaking text-based CAPTCHA in the dark web. The proposed framework utilizes Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) to counteract dark web-specific background noise and leverages an enhanced character segmentation algorithm. Our proposed method was evaluated on both benchmark and dark web CAPTCHA testbeds. The proposed method significantly outperformed the state-of-the-art baseline methods on all datasets, achieving over 92.08% success rate on dark web testbeds. Our research enables the CTI community to develop advanced capabilities of large-scale dark web monitoring.

Liu, Y., Lin, F. Y., Ahmad-Post, Z., Ebrahimi, M., Zhang, N., Hu, J. L., Xin, J., Li, W., Chen, H..  2020.  Identifying, Collecting, and Monitoring Personally Identifiable Information: From the Dark Web to the Surface Web. 2020 IEEE International Conference on Intelligence and Security Informatics (ISI). :1—6.

Personally identifiable information (PII) has become a major target of cyber-attacks, causing severe losses to data breach victims. To protect data breach victims, researchers focus on collecting exposed PII to assess privacy risk and identify at-risk individuals. However, existing studies mostly rely on exposed PII collected from either the dark web or the surface web. Due to the wide exposure of PII on both the dark web and surface web, collecting from only the dark web or the surface web could result in an underestimation of privacy risk. Despite its research and practical value, jointly collecting PII from both sources is a non-trivial task. In this paper, we summarize our effort to systematically identify, collect, and monitor a total of 1,212,004,819 exposed PII records across both the dark web and surface web. Our effort resulted in 5.8 million stolen SSNs, 845,000 stolen credit/debit cards, and 1.2 billion stolen account credentials. From the surface web, we identified and collected over 1.3 million PII records of the victims whose PII is exposed on the dark web. To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest academic collection of exposed PII, which, if properly anonymized, enables various privacy research inquiries, including assessing privacy risk and identifying at-risk populations.

2018-02-28
Zhang, N., Sirbu, M. A., Peha, J. M..  2017.  A comparison of migration and multihoming support in IPv6 and XIA. 2017 International Symposium on Networks, Computers and Communications (ISNCC). :1–8.

Mobility and multihoming have become the norm in Internet access, e.g. smartphones with Wi-Fi and LTE, and connected vehicles with LTE and DSRC links that change rapidly. Mobility creates challenges for active session continuity when provider-aggregatable locators are used, while multihoming brings opportunities for improving resiliency and allocative efficiency. This paper proposes a novel migration protocol, in the context of the eXpressive Internet Architecture (XIA), the XIA Migration Protocol. We compare it with Mobile IPv6, with respect to handoff latency and overhead, flow migration support, and defense against spoofing and replay of protocol messages. Handoff latencies of the XIA Migration Protocol and Mobile IPv6 Enhanced Route Optimization are comparable and neither protocol opens up avenues for spoofing or replay attacks. However, XIA requires no mobility anchor point to support client mobility while Mobile IPv6 always depends on a home agent. We show that XIA has significant advantage over IPv6 for multihomed hosts and networks in terms of resiliency, scalability, load balancing and allocative efficiency. IPv6 multihoming solutions either forgo scalability (BGP-based) or sacrifice resiliency (NAT-based), while XIA's fallback-based multihoming provides fault tolerance without a heavy-weight protocol. XIA also allows fine-grained incoming load-balancing and QoS-matching by supporting flow migration. Flow migration is not possible using Mobile IPv6 when a single IPv6 address is associated with multiple flows. From a protocol design and architectural perspective, the key enablers of these benefits are flow-level migration, XIA's DAG-based locators and self-certifying identifiers.

2015-04-30
Chiang, R., Rajasekaran, S., Zhang, N., Huang, H..  2014.  Swiper: Exploiting Virtual Machine Vulnerability in Third-Party Clouds with Competition for I/O Resources. Parallel and Distributed Systems, IEEE Transactions on. PP:1-1.

The emerging paradigm of cloud computing, e.g., Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), promises a highly flexible yet robust environment for large-scale applications. Ideally, while multiple virtual machines (VM) share the same physical resources (e.g., CPUs, caches, DRAM, and I/O devices), each application should be allocated to an independently managed VM and isolated from one another. Unfortunately, the absence of physical isolation inevitably opens doors to a number of security threats. In this paper, we demonstrate in EC2 a new type of security vulnerability caused by competition between virtual I/O workloads-i.e., by leveraging the competition for shared resources, an adversary could intentionally slow down the execution of a targeted application in a VM that shares the same hardware. In particular, we focus on I/O resources such as hard-drive throughput and/or network bandwidth-which are critical for data-intensive applications. We design and implement Swiper, a framework which uses a carefully designed workload to incur significant delays on the targeted application and VM with minimum cost (i.e., resource consumption). We conduct a comprehensive set of experiments in EC2, which clearly demonstrates that Swiper is capable of significantly slowing down various server applications while consuming a small amount of resources.