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UT Arlington Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Engineering

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Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Hazard Mitigation

Hacker Detection: Evaluation and Improvement

hacker detectionFaculty Mentors: Dr. Matthew Wright

Graduate Assistants: Kush Kothari, Monjurul Hasan, & Mahdi Al-Ameen

Hazard Type:
Cyber Security

2010 Student Participant
Thad Madison

2011 Student Participants
Kyle Crumpton
Rafael Nicks

In today’s computer networks, security tools like firewalls remain largely ineffective in stopping hackers from gaining access and exploiting that access to steal sensitive information and disrupt critical operations. Hackers typically break into another network and use that as a stepping-stone to attack the target network. For example, a hacker might break into a more vulnerable school district’s computers and use them to launch attacks against a military network. In this project, we propose to enhance stepping-stone detection (SSD) systems that focus on finding and stopping this kind of attack.

Basic SSD methods can be broken by sophisticated hackers. To avoid prior detection methods, these hackers carefully shape their traffic to look like streaming audio, such as Internet phone traffic. We propose two main directions for this work: