August 28, 2017

CLTC Grantees Win Prestigious “Internet Defense Prize”


A group of researchers whose work was funded in part by the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity received Facebook’s prestigious Internet Defense Prize for their research on detecting spearphishing attacks.

The Internet Defense Prize is a $100,000 prize that “recognizes and rewards research that meaningfully makes the internet more secure,” according to the program’s website. “Created in 2014, the award is funded by Facebook and offered in partnership with USENIX to celebrate contributions to the protection and defense of the internet.”

The authors of the winning paper are Grant Ho, UC Berkeley; Aashish Sharma, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Mobin Javed, UC Berkeley; Vern Paxson, UC Berkeley and ICSI; David Wagner, UC Berkeley. Read their paper here. Ho, Paxson, and Wagner are all CLTC grantees.

As explained in its abstract, the prize-winning paper presents “a new approach for detecting credential spearphishing attacks in enterprise settings.” The researchers’ method uses “features derived from an analysis of fundamental characteristics of spearphishing attacks, combined with a new non-parametric anomaly scoring technique for ranking alerts.” By adopting this approach, an analyst “can investigate an entire month’s worth of [spearphishing] alerts in under 15 minutes,” according to the paper.

Ho and his co-authors were not the only UC Berkeley researchers to earn distinction through the Internet Defense Prize competition. Another team—composed of Thurston H.Y. Dang and David Wagner from UC Berkeley, as well as Petros Maniatis from Google Brain—were finalists as well.

Congratulations to you all!