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Finding Malware on a Web Scale

Date and Time
Monday, May 7, 2012 - 1:30am to Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 2:30am
Computer Science Small Auditorium (Room 105)
CS Department Colloquium Series
Michael Freedman
Over the last several years, JavaScript malware has emerged as one of the most popular ways to deliver drive-by attacks to unsuspecting users through the browser. This talk covers recent Microsoft Research experiences with finding malware on the web. It highlights two tools: Nozzle and Zozzle. Nozzle is a runtime malware detector that focuses on finding heap spraying attacks. Zozzle is a mostly static detector that finds heap sprays and other types of JavaScript malware. Both are extremely precise: Nozzle false positive rate is close to one in a billion; Zozzle's is about one in a million.

Both are deployed by Bing and are used daily to find thousands of malicious web sites. This talk will focus on interesting interplay between static and runtime analysis and cover what it takes to migrate research ideas into real-world products.

Ben Livshits is a researcher at Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA and an affiliate professor at the University of Washington. Originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, he received a bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Math from Cornell University in 1999, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 2002 and 2006, respectively. Dr. Livshits' research interests include application of sophisticated static and dynamic analysis techniques to finding errors in programs.

Ben has published papers at PLDI, POPL, Oakland Security, Usenix Security, CCS, SOSP, ICSE, FSE, and many other venues. He is known for his work in software reliability and especially tools to improve software security, with a primary focus on approaches to finding buffer overruns in C programs and a variety of security vulnerabilities (cross-site scripting, SQL injections, etc.) in Web-based applications. He is the author of several dozen academic papers and patents. Lately he has been focusing on how Web 2.0 application and browser reliability, performance, and security can be improved through a combination of static and runtime techniques. Ben generally does not speak of himself in the third person.

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