Discovering Malicious Domains through Passive DNS Data Graph Analysis

Issa Khalil, Ting Yu, Bei Guan
<span title="">2016</span> <i title="ACM Press"> <a target="_blank" rel="noopener" href="https://fatcat.wiki/container/rau5643b7ncwvh74y6p64hntle" style="color: black;">Proceedings of the 11th ACM on Asia Conference on Computer and Communications Security - ASIA CCS &#39;16</a> </i> &nbsp;
Malicious domains are key components to a variety of cyber attacks. Several recent techniques are proposed to identify malicious domains through analysis of DNS data. The general approach is to build classifiers based on DNS-related local domain features. One potential problem is that many local features, e.g., domain name patterns and temporal patterns, tend to be not robust. Attackers could easily alter these features to evade detection without affecting much their attack capabilities. In
more &raquo; ... paper, we take a complementary approach. Instead of focusing on local features, we propose to discover and analyze global associations among domains. The key challenges are (1) to build meaningful associations among domains; and (2) to use these associations to reason about the potential maliciousness of domains. For the first challenge, we take advantage of the modus operandi of attackers. To avoid detection, malicious domains exhibit dynamic behavior by, for example, frequently changing the malicious domain-IP resolutions and creating new domains. This makes it very likely for attackers to reuse resources. It is indeed commonly observed that over a period of time multiple malicious domains are hosted on the same IPs and multiple IPs host the same malicious domains, which creates intrinsic association among them. For the second challenge, we develop a graph-based inference technique over associated domains. Our approach is based on the intuition that a domain having strong associations with known malicious domains is likely to be malicious. Carefully established associations enable the discovery of a large set of new malicious domains using a very small set of previously known malicious ones. Our experiments over a public passive DNS database show that the proposed technique can achieve high true positive rates (over 95%) while maintaining low false positive rates (less than 0.5%). Further, even with a small set of known malicious domains (a couple of hundreds), our technique can discover a large set of potential malicious domains (in the scale of up to tens of thousands).
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