VB2014 paper: We know it before you do: predicting malicious domains

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Feb 5, 2015

Wei Xu and his colleagues attempt to block domains before they're used for bad purposes.

Since the close of the VB2014 conference in Seattle in October, we have been sharing VB2014 conference papers as well as video recordings of the presentations. Today, we have added 'We know it before you do: predicting malicious domains' by Palo Alto Networks researchers Wei Xu, Yanxin Zhang and Kyle Sanders.

Whether they're used for command and control communication, to host malware or in a phishing campaign, malicious domains play an important role in today's threats. Security firms thus try hard to detect them and add them to their blacklists.

  Life cycle of a malicious domain.

However, with domains being recycled quickly, a reactive approach might not be good enough. In their VB2014 paper, Palo Alto Networks researchers Wei Xu, Yanxin Zhang and Kyle Sanders describe how they tried to predict malicious domains.

They combine four different techniques: looking at known malicious domain names that are likely to be reused; looking at the domain names themselves to detect those generated by DGAs; looking at DNS queries made to the domains; and looking at connections between the domain names, such as shared DNS infrastructure.

Using these techniques and one month's data as input, they were able to predict almost 2,200 malicious domains, 83% of which were listed on VirusTotal as known malicious by at least one vendor. Passive DNS records showed that they predicted malicious domains an average of eight hours before DNS queries showed up in the PDNS feed.

You can read the paper here in HTML-format, or download it here as a PDF (no registration or subscription required). We have also uploaded the presentation to our YouTube channel.



Posted on 05 February 2015 by Martijn Grooten

 Tags

vb2014 dga domain
twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

The spam that is hardest to block is often the most damaging

We see a lot of spam in the VBSpam test lab, and we also see how well such emails are being blocked by email security products. Worryingly, it is often the emails with a malicious attachment or a phishing link that are most likely to be missed.

Throwback Thursday: We're all doomed

Mydoom turns 15 this month, and is still being seen in email attachments. This Throwback Thursday we look back to March 2004, when Gabor Szappanos tracked the rise of W32/Mydoom.

VB2019 call for papers - now open!

Have you analysed a new online threat? Do you know a new way to defend against such threats? Are you tasked with securing systems and fending off attacks? The call for papers for VB2019 is now open and we want to hear from you!

VB2018 paper: Unpacking the packed unpacker: reversing an Android anti-analysis library

Today, we publish a VB2018 paper by Google researcher Maddie Stone in which she looks at one of the most interesting anti-analysis native libraries in the Android ecosystem. We also release the recording of Maddie's presentation.

VB2018 paper: Draw me like one of your French APTs – expanding our descriptive palette for cyber threat actors

Today, we publish the VB2018 paper by Chronicle researcher Juan Andres Guerrero-Saade, who argues we should change the way we talk about APT actors.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.