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Kantchelian, Alex, Tschantz, Michael Carl, Afroz, Sadia, Miller, Brad, Shankar, Vaishaal, Bachwani, Rekha, Joseph, Anthony D., Tygar, J. D..  2015.  Better Malware Ground Truth: Techniques for Weighting Anti-Virus Vendor Labels. Proceedings of the 8th ACM Workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Security. :45–56.

We examine the problem of aggregating the results of multiple anti-virus (AV) vendors' detectors into a single authoritative ground-truth label for every binary. To do so, we adapt a well-known generative Bayesian model that postulates the existence of a hidden ground truth upon which the AV labels depend. We use training based on Expectation Maximization for this fully unsupervised technique. We evaluate our method using 279,327 distinct binaries from VirusTotal, each of which appeared for the rst time between January 2012 and June 2014.

Our evaluation shows that our statistical model is consistently more accurate at predicting the future-derived ground truth than all unweighted rules of the form \k out of n" AV detections. In addition, we evaluate the scenario where partial ground truth is available for model building. We train a logistic regression predictor on the partial label information. Our results show that as few as a 100 randomly selected training instances with ground truth are enough to achieve 80% true positive rate for 0.1% false positive rate. In comparison, the best unweighted threshold rule provides only 60% true positive rate at the same false positive rate.

Portnoff, Rebecca S., Huang, Danny Yuxing, Doerfler, Periwinkle, Afroz, Sadia, McCoy, Damon.  2017.  Backpage and Bitcoin: Uncovering Human Traffickers. Proceedings of the 23rd ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining. :1595–1604.

Sites for online classified ads selling sex are widely used by human traffickers to support their pernicious business. The sheer quantity of ads makes manual exploration and analysis unscalable. In addition, discerning whether an ad is advertising a trafficked victim or an independent sex worker is a very difficult task. Very little concrete ground truth (i.e., ads definitively known to be posted by a trafficker) exists in this space. In this work, we develop tools and techniques that can be used separately and in conjunction to group sex ads by their true owner (and not the claimed author in the ad). Specifically, we develop a machine learning classifier that uses stylometry to distinguish between ads posted by the same vs. different authors with 90% TPR and 1% FPR. We also design a linking technique that takes advantage of leakages from the Bitcoin mempool, blockchain and sex ad site, to link a subset of sex ads to Bitcoin public wallets and transactions. Finally, we demonstrate via a 4-week proof of concept using Backpage as the sex ad site, how an analyst can use these automated approaches to potentially find human traffickers.