Check out the new USENIX Web site.

USENIX Home . About USENIX . Events . membership . Publications . Students
18th Large Installation System Administration Conference — Abstract

Pp. 33–46 of the Proceedings

Gatekeeper: Monitoring Auto-Start Extensibility Points (ASEPs) for Spyware Management

Yi-Min Wang, Roussi Roussev, Chad Verbowski, and Aaron Johnson, Microsoft Research; Ming-Wei Wu, Yennun Huang, and Sy-Yen Kuo, National Taiwan University


Spyware is a rapidly spreading problem for PC users causing significant impact on system stability and privacy concerns. It attaches to extensibility points in the system to ensure the spyware will be instantiated when the system starts. Users may willingly install free versions of software containing spyware as an alternative to paying for it. Traditional anti-virus techniques are less effective in this scenario because they lack the context to decide if the spyware should be removed.

In this paper, we introduce Auto-Start Extensibility Points (ASEPs) as the key concept for modeling the spyware problem. By monitoring and grouping ``hooking'' operations made to the ASEPs, our Gatekeeper solution complements the traditional signature-based approach and provides a comprehensive framework for spyware management. We present ASEP hooking statistics for 120 real-world spyware programs. We also describe several techniques for discovering new ASEPs to further enhance the effectiveness of our solution.

  • View the full text of this paper in HTML and PDF.
    Click here if you have forgotten your password Until November 2005, you will need your USENIX membership identification in order to access the full papers. The Proceedings are published as a collective work, © 2004 by the USENIX Association. All Rights Reserved. Rights to individual papers remain with the author or the author's employer. Permission is granted for the noncommercial reproduction of the complete work for educational or research purposes. USENIX acknowledges all trademarks within this paper.

  • If you need the latest Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it from Adobe's site.
To become a USENIX Member, please see our Membership Information.


?Need help? Use our Contacts page.

Last changed: 16 Nov. 2004 aw
Technical Program
LISA '04 Home