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Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security

Tracing Denial-of-Service Attacks; or why we may never know who attacked Yahoo et. al.

Clay Shields

Clay Shields - CERIAS, Purdue University

Feb 18, 2000

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Abstract

The recent spate of attacks against Yahoo and other sites with large on-line presences brought denial-of-service attacks into the public consciousness. The methods used in these attacks make it very difficult, if not impossible, to locate the source of the attacks. The problem lies not only in finding the particular computers used to launch the attacks, but also in finding the individuals controlling those computers. I will discuss the attacks that occurred, why it is so difficult to track the intruders, research work that attempt to make it possible do so, and open research problems in the area. CERIAS has on-going work related to the problem of tracking intruders across the Internet, and I expect this to be an evolving and interesting area of research in the future.

About the Speaker

Clay was born in Washington, D.C, and spent much of his childhood living overseas as required by the career of his stepfather, who was a covert agent for the CIA. Clay got an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia, and after a year as a computer programmer on Capitol Hill, joined the U.S. Army. As an infantry officer with the 101st Airborne Division, Clay served overseas with the peace-keeping force in the Sinai Peninsula, earning a commendation for liaison work with the Egyptian and Israeli military. Because sitting in a muddy foxhole with a rifle was not intellectually challenging enough, Clay left the Army to return to graduate school. He attended the University of California at Santa Cruz, and for his dissertation he studied computer networking, particularly multicast routing and network security issues. With the ink not yet dry on his PhD, Clay took a job as an assistant professor in computer science at Purdue University, not so much for easy access to corn, but to be associated with CERIAS and to continue his research into network security. Clay is particularly interested in finding ways to exploit existing protocols, in designing secure protocols and in finding ways to keep careful track of what is happening in a network while maintaining user privacy and anonymity.


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