Researchers and practitioners head to San Jose
USENIX Security 2008
The 17th Security Symposium met in San Jose, California, USA, during the week of July 28, with a refereed paper track and Invited Talks.
USENIX Security might lack the buzz surrounding DefCon, but the content more than makes up for this. The competition for getting a paper accepted is fierce, with only 27 of 174 papers getting the nod from the Program Committee this year. And you will find the research behind some of the hot topics in security in these papers.
Niels Provos delivered a paper and an invited talk, both about the work he has been doing at Google to uncover infected websites. Google, like other search engine companies, creates constantly updated caches of web pages. Provos and his associates have built software that scans tens of millions of web pages each day, selecting a million URLs to load into instrumented virtual machines running Windows and IE.
Provos said that one in a thousand URLs will direct IE to a malware download site that can result in Windows being automatically exploited – a drive-by download. The distribution of malware-infected web servers by type is roughly equivalent, so visiting a financial or social networking site is almost as dangerous as hitting sites with adult content.
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