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Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security

Understanding Spam Economics

Chris Kanich

Chris Kanich - University of Illinois at Chicago

Oct 10, 2012

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Abstract

Over the past two decades, the Internet has become an essential tool in the lives of millions of people. Unfortunately, this success has also attracted cybercriminals who exploit the Internet as a platform for illicit gain. Perhaps the most familiar scam is 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 building effective countermeasures to cybercrime. In this talk, I'll explain the modern spamming landscape and present research that help us better understand how spammers make their money online. One effort uses the technique of botnet infiltration to examine a spam campaign from the point of view of the spammers. Botnet infiltration allows us to measure their operation including the advertisements' effectiveness and the worldwide use of spam filtering techniques. The second effort exploits key information leaks to answer key questions about the modern affiliate marketing-based spam ecosystem, from estimating their worldwide gross revenue, to understanding customer demographics and their most popular products.

About the Speaker

Chris is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Chris Earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science and engineering from UC San Diego in 2012, and his B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science from Purdue University in 2005. His research centers around Internet security and Internet measurement, with a particular focus on fully characterizing attackers' motivations, capabilities, and strategies.

Unless otherwise noted, the security seminar is held on Wednesdays at 4:30P.M. STEW G52, West Lafayette Campus. More information...

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