Check out the new USENIX Web site.

Related Work

In general the academic literature on botnet detection is sparse. Furthermore we are not aware of any other anomaly-based system for detection of botnets. Known techniques include honeynets and IDS systems with signature detection. Honeynets [6] or darknets might be distributed [1] or local and can certainly prove beneficial in terms of providing information about botnet technology. However they may not be easily deployed in a commercial environment and do not necessarily help with the question of whether host X has worm Y. Knowledge of useful signatures and behavior of existing botnet systems is another venue for detection. The paper [2] presents a good introduction to botnets and analyzes botnet architecture. An open-source system like snort [8] can be used for detection of known botnets.

The problem with signatures is of course one may lack the required signature for a bot known elsewhere, or a bot may be new to the world, locally unknown, or changed, thus defeating previously known signatures. Anomaly detection on the other hand may detect such a system. Problems with anomaly detection can include detection of an IRC network that may be a botnet but has not been used yet for attacks, hence there are no anomalies. As our technology depends on hackers actually launching attacks, there is no guarantee that we can detect every infected system. One can also argue that anomaly detection is "too late". It is certainly better to detect an initial attack with a signature when it first occurs and get an exploited system fixed before it is used for spam or denial of service attacks. We believe signatures and anomaly detection are often complimentary and should not be viewed as somehow competitive. All of these techniques (honeypot, IDS, and anomaly detection) can be useful and provide slightly different set of information.

root 2006-06-05