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J. Vukalović, D. Delija.  2015.  "Advanced Persistent Threats - detection and defense". 2015 38th International Convention on Information and Communication Technology, Electronics and Microelectronics (MIPRO). :1324-1330.

The term “Advanced Persistent Threat” refers to a well-organized, malicious group of people who launch stealthy attacks against computer systems of specific targets, such as governments, companies or military. The attacks themselves are long-lasting, difficult to expose and often use very advanced hacking techniques. Since they are advanced in nature, prolonged and persistent, the organizations behind them have to possess a high level of knowledge, advanced tools and competent personnel to execute them. The attacks are usually preformed in several phases - reconnaissance, preparation, execution, gaining access, information gathering and connection maintenance. In each of the phases attacks can be detected with different probabilities. There are several ways to increase the level of security of an organization in order to counter these incidents. First and foremost, it is necessary to educate users and system administrators on different attack vectors and provide them with knowledge and protection so that the attacks are unsuccessful. Second, implement strict security policies. That includes access control and restrictions (to information or network), protecting information by encrypting it and installing latest security upgrades. Finally, it is possible to use software IDS tools to detect such anomalies (e.g. Snort, OSSEC, Sguil).

Ayoade, G., Chandra, S., Khan, L., Hamlen, K., Thuraisingham, B..  2018.  Automated Threat Report Classification over Multi-Source Data. 2018 IEEE 4th International Conference on Collaboration and Internet Computing (CIC). :236–245.

With an increase in targeted attacks such as advanced persistent threats (APTs), enterprise system defenders require comprehensive frameworks that allow them to collaborate and evaluate their defense systems against such attacks. MITRE has developed a framework which includes a database of different kill-chains, tactics, techniques, and procedures that attackers employ to perform these attacks. In this work, we leverage natural language processing techniques to extract attacker actions from threat report documents generated by different organizations and automatically classify them into standardized tactics and techniques, while providing relevant mitigation advisories for each attack. A naïve method to achieve this is by training a machine learning model to predict labels that associate the reports with relevant categories. In practice, however, sufficient labeled data for model training is not always readily available, so that training and test data come from different sources, resulting in bias. A naïve model would typically underperform in such a situation. We address this major challenge by incorporating an importance weighting scheme called bias correction that efficiently utilizes available labeled data, given threat reports, whose categories are to be automatically predicted. We empirically evaluated our approach on 18,257 real-world threat reports generated between year 2000 and 2018 from various computer security organizations to demonstrate its superiority by comparing its performance with an existing approach.

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Nan, Z., Zhai, L., Zhai, L., Liu, H..  2018.  Botnet Homology Method Based on Symbolic Approximation Algorithm of Communication Characteristic Curve. 2018 15th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Video and Signal Based Surveillance (AVSS). :1-6.
The IRC botnet is the earliest and most significant botnet group that has a significant impact. Its characteristic is to control multiple zombies hosts through the IRC protocol and constructing command control channels. Relevant research analyzes the large amount of network traffic generated by command interaction between the botnet client and the C&C server. Packet capture traffic monitoring on the network is currently a more effective detection method, but this information does not reflect the essential characteristics of the IRC botnet. The increase in the amount of erroneous judgments has often occurred. To identify whether the botnet control server is a homogenous botnet, dynamic network communication characteristic curves are extracted. For unequal time series, dynamic time warping distance clustering is used to identify the homologous botnets by category, and in order to improve detection. Speed, experiments will use SAX to reduce the dimension of the extracted curve, reducing the time cost without reducing the accuracy.
C
Ormrod, D..  2014.  The Coordination of Cyber and Kinetic Deception for Operational Effect: Attacking the C4ISR Interface. Military Communications Conference (MILCOM), 2014 IEEE. :117-122.

Modern military forces are enabled by networked command and control systems, which provide an important interface between the cyber environment, electronic sensors and decision makers. However these systems are vulnerable to cyber attack. A successful cyber attack could compromise data within the system, leading to incorrect information being utilized for decisions with potentially catastrophic results on the battlefield. Degrading the utility of a system or the trust a decision maker has in their virtual display may not be the most effective means of employing offensive cyber effects. The coordination of cyber and kinetic effects is proposed as the optimal strategy for neutralizing an adversary's C4ISR advantage. However, such an approach is an opportunity cost and resource intensive. The adversary's cyber dependence can be leveraged as a means of gaining tactical and operational advantage in combat, if a military force is sufficiently trained and prepared to attack the entire information network. This paper proposes a research approach intended to broaden the understanding of the relationship between command and control systems and the human decision maker, as an interface for both cyber and kinetic deception activity.

K. F. Hong, C. C. Chen, Y. T. Chiu, K. S. Chou.  2015.  "Ctracer: Uncover C amp;amp;C in Advanced Persistent Threats Based on Scalable Framework for Enterprise Log Data". 2015 IEEE International Congress on Big Data. :551-558.

Advanced Persistent Threat (APT), unlike traditional hacking attempts, carries out specific attacks on a specific target to illegally collect information and data from it. These targeted attacks use special-crafted malware and infrequent activity to avoid detection, so that hackers can retain control over target systems unnoticed for long periods of time. In order to detect these stealthy activities, a large-volume of traffic data generated in a period of time has to be analyzed. We proposed a scalable solution, Ctracer to detect stealthy command and control channel in a large-volume of traffic data. APT uses multiple command and control (C&C) channel and change them frequently to avoid detection, but there are common signatures in those C&C sessions. By identifying common network signature, Ctracer is able to group the C&C sessions. Therefore, we can detect an APT and all the C&C session used in an APT attack. The Ctracer is evaluated in a large enterprise for four months, twenty C&C servers, three APT attacks are reported. After investigated by the enterprise's Security Operations Center (SOC), the forensic report shows that there is specific enterprise targeted APT cases and not ever discovered for over 120 days.

Cho, S., Han, I., Jeong, H., Kim, J., Koo, S., Oh, H., Park, M..  2018.  Cyber Kill Chain based Threat Taxonomy and its Application on Cyber Common Operational Picture. 2018 International Conference On Cyber Situational Awareness, Data Analytics And Assessment (Cyber SA). :1–8.

Over a decade, intelligent and persistent forms of cyber threats have been damaging to the organizations' cyber assets and missions. In this paper, we analyze current cyber kill chain models that explain the adversarial behavior to perform advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks, and propose a cyber kill chain model that can be used in view of cyber situation awareness. Based on the proposed cyber kill chain model, we propose a threat taxonomy that classifies attack tactics and techniques for each attack phase using CAPEC, ATT&CK that classify the attack tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) proposed by MITRE. We also implement a cyber common operational picture (CyCOP) to recognize the situation of cyberspace. The threat situation can be represented on the CyCOP by applying cyber kill chain based threat taxonomy.

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Das, A., Shen, M. Y., Shashanka, M., Wang, J..  2017.  Detection of Exfiltration and Tunneling over DNS. 2017 16th IEEE International Conference on Machine Learning and Applications (ICMLA). :737–742.

This paper proposes a method to detect two primary means of using the Domain Name System (DNS) for malicious purposes. We develop machine learning models to detect information exfiltration from compromised machines and the establishment of command & control (C&C) servers via tunneling. We validate our approach by experiments where we successfully detect a malware used in several recent Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attacks [1]. The novelty of our method is its robustness, simplicity, scalability, and ease of deployment in a production environment.

F
Alejandre, F. V., Cortés, N. C., Anaya, E. A..  2017.  Feature selection to detect botnets using machine learning algorithms. 2017 International Conference on Electronics, Communications and Computers (CONIELECOMP). :1–7.

In this paper, a novel method to do feature selection to detect botnets at their phase of Command and Control (C&C) is presented. A major problem is that researchers have proposed features based on their expertise, but there is no a method to evaluate these features since some of these features could get a lower detection rate than other. To this aim, we find the feature set based on connections of botnets at their phase of C&C, that maximizes the detection rate of these botnets. A Genetic Algorithm (GA) was used to select the set of features that gives the highest detection rate. We used the machine learning algorithm C4.5, this algorithm did the classification between connections belonging or not to a botnet. The datasets used in this paper were extracted from the repositories ISOT and ISCX. Some tests were done to get the best parameters in a GA and the algorithm C4.5. We also performed experiments in order to obtain the best set of features for each botnet analyzed (specific), and for each type of botnet (general) too. The results are shown at the end of the paper, in which a considerable reduction of features and a higher detection rate than the related work presented were obtained.

Leemaster, J., Vai, M., Whelihan, D., Whitman, H., Khazan, R..  2018.  Functionality and Security Co-Design Environment for Embedded Systems. 2018 IEEE High Performance Extreme Computing Conference (HPEC). :1-5.

For decades, embedded systems, ranging from intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors to electronic warfare and electronic signal intelligence systems, have been an integral part of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) mission systems. These embedded systems are increasingly the targets of deliberate and sophisticated attacks. Developers thus need to focus equally on functionality and security in both hardware and software development. For critical missions, these systems must be entrusted to perform their intended functions, prevent attacks, and even operate with resilience under attacks. The processor in a critical system must thus provide not only a root of trust, but also a foundation to monitor mission functions, detect anomalies, and perform recovery. We have developed a Lincoln Asymmetric Multicore Processing (LAMP) architecture, which mitigates adversarial cyber effects with separation and cryptography and provides a foundation to build a resilient embedded system. We will describe a design environment that we have created to enable the co-design of functionality and security for mission assurance.

Boleng, J., Novakouski, M., Cahill, G., Simanta, S., Morris, E..  2014.  Fusing Open Source Intelligence and Handheld Situational Awareness: Benghazi Case Study. Military Communications Conference (MILCOM), 2014 IEEE. :1421-1426.

This paper reports the results and findings of a historical analysis of open source intelligence (OSINT) information (namely Twitter data) surrounding the events of the September 11, 2012 attack on the US Diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. In addition to this historical analysis, two prototype capabilities were combined for a table top exercise to explore the effectiveness of using OSINT combined with a context aware handheld situational awareness framework and application to better inform potential responders as the events unfolded. Our experience shows that the ability to model sentiment, trends, and monitor keywords in streaming social media, coupled with the ability to share that information to edge operators can increase their ability to effectively respond to contingency operations as they unfold.
 

H
Gutzwiller, R. S., Reeder, J..  2017.  Human interactive machine learning for trust in teams of autonomous robots. 2017 IEEE Conference on Cognitive and Computational Aspects of Situation Management (CogSIMA). :1–3.

Unmanned systems are increasing in number, while their manning requirements remain the same. To decrease manpower demands, machine learning techniques and autonomy are gaining traction and visibility. One barrier is human perception and understanding of autonomy. Machine learning techniques can result in “black box” algorithms that may yield high fitness, but poor comprehension by operators. However, Interactive Machine Learning (IML), a method to incorporate human input over the course of algorithm development by using neuro-evolutionary machine-learning techniques, may offer a solution. IML is evaluated here for its impact on developing autonomous team behaviors in an area search task. Initial findings show that IML-generated search plans were chosen over plans generated using a non-interactive ML technique, even though the participants trusted them slightly less. Further, participants discriminated each of the two types of plans from each other with a high degree of accuracy, suggesting the IML approach imparts behavioral characteristics into algorithms, making them more recognizable. Together the results lay the foundation for exploring how to team humans successfully with ML behavior.

I
Robertson, J..  2014.  Integrity of a common operating picture in military situational awareness. Information Security for South Africa (ISSA), 2014. :1-7.

The lack of qualification of a common operating picture (COP) directly impacts the situational awareness of military Command and Control (C2). Since a commander is reliant on situational awareness information in order to make decisions regarding military operations, the COP needs to be trustworthy and provide accurate information for the commander to base decisions on the resultant information. If the COP's integrity is questioned, there is no definite way of defining its integrity. This paper looks into the integrity of the COP and how it can impact situational awareness. It discusses a potential solution to this problem on which future research can be based.
 

M
McLaren, P., Russell, G., Buchanan, B..  2017.  Mining Malware Command and Control Traces. 2017 Computing Conference. :788–794.

Detecting botnets and advanced persistent threats is a major challenge for network administrators. An important component of such malware is the command and control channel, which enables the malware to respond to controller commands. The detection of malware command and control channels could help prevent further malicious activity by cyber criminals using the malware. Detection of malware in network traffic is traditionally carried out by identifying specific patterns in packet payloads. Now bot writers encrypt the command and control payloads, making pattern recognition a less effective form of detection. This paper focuses instead on an effective anomaly based detection technique for bot and advanced persistent threats using a data mining approach combined with applied classification algorithms. After additional tuning, the final test on an unseen dataset, false positive rates of 0% with malware detection rates of 100% were achieved on two examined malware threats, with promising results on a number of other threats.

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Weckstén, M., Frick, J., Sjöström, A., Järpe, E..  2016.  A novel method for recovery from Crypto Ransomware infections. 2016 2nd IEEE International Conference on Computer and Communications (ICCC). :1354–1358.

Extortion using digital platforms is an increasing form of crime. A commonly seen problem is extortion in the form of an infection of a Crypto Ransomware that encrypts the files of the target and demands a ransom to recover the locked data. By analyzing the four most common Crypto Ransomwares, at writing, a clear vulnerability is identified; all infections rely on tools available on the target system to be able to prevent a simple recovery after the attack has been detected. By renaming the system tool that handles shadow copies it is possible to recover from infections from all four of the most common Crypto Ransomwares. The solution is packaged in a single, easy to use script.

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K. F. Hong, C. C. Chen, Y. T. Chiu, K. S. Chou.  2015.  "Scalable command and control detection in log data through UF-ICF analysis". 2015 International Carnahan Conference on Security Technology (ICCST). :293-298.

During an advanced persistent threat (APT), an attacker group usually establish more than one C&C server and these C&C servers will change their domain names and corresponding IP addresses over time to be unseen by anti-virus software or intrusion prevention systems. For this reason, discovering and catching C&C sites becomes a big challenge in information security. Based on our observations and deductions, a malware tends to contain a fixed user agent string, and the connection behaviors generated by a malware is different from that by a benign service or a normal user. This paper proposed a new method comprising filtering and clustering methods to detect C&C servers with a relatively higher coverage rate. The experiments revealed that the proposed method can successfully detect C&C Servers, and the can provide an important clue for detecting APT.

Arora, D., Verigin, A., Godkin, T., Neville, S.W..  2014.  Statistical Assessment of Sybil-Placement Strategies within DHT-Structured Peer-to-Peer Botnets. Advanced Information Networking and Applications (AINA), 2014 IEEE 28th International Conference on. :821-828.

Botnets are a well recognized global cyber-security threat as they enable attack communities to command large collections of compromised computers (bots) on-demand. Peer to-peer (P2P) distributed hash tables (DHT) have become particularly attractive botnet command and control (C & C) solutions due to the high level resiliency gained via the diffused random graph overlays they produce. The injection of Sybils, computers pretending to be valid bots, remains a key defensive strategy against DHT-structured P2P botnets. This research uses packet level network simulations to explore the relative merits of random, informed, and partially informed Sybil placement strategies. It is shown that random placements perform nearly as effectively as the tested more informed strategies, which require higher levels of inter-defender co-ordination. Moreover, it is shown that aspects of the DHT-structured P2P botnets behave as statistically nonergodic processes, when viewed from the perspective of stochastic processes. This suggests that although optimal Sybil placement strategies appear to exist they would need carefully tuning to each specific P2P botnet instance.