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Proceedings Paper

Effectively identifying user profiles in network and host metrics
Author(s): John P. Murphy; Vincent H. Berk; Ian Gregorio-de Souza
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Paper Abstract

This work presents a collection of methods that is used to effectively identify users of computers systems based on their particular usage of the software and the network. Not only are we able to identify individual computer users by their behavioral patterns, we are also able to detect significant deviations in their typical computer usage over time, or compared to a group of their peers. For instance, most people have a small, and relatively unique selection of regularly visited websites, certain email services, daily work hours, and typical preferred applications for mandated tasks. We argue that these habitual patterns are sufficiently specific to identify fully anonymized network users. We demonstrate that with only a modest data collection capability, profiles of individual computer users can be constructed so as to uniquely identify a profiled user from among their peers. As time progresses and habits or circumstances change, the methods presented update each profile so that changes in user behavior can be reliably detected over both abrupt and gradual time frames, without losing the ability to identify the profiled user. The primary benefit of our methodology allows one to efficiently detect deviant behaviors, such as subverted user accounts, or organizational policy violations. Thanks to the relative robustness, these techniques can be used in scenarios with very diverse data collection capabilities, and data privacy requirements. In addition to behavioral change detection, the generated profiles can also be compared against pre-defined examples of known adversarial patterns.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 May 2010
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 7666, Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense IX, 766607 (4 May 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.852458
Show Author Affiliations
John P. Murphy, Dartmouth College (United States)
Vincent H. Berk, Dartmouth College (United States)
Ian Gregorio-de Souza, Dartmouth College (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7666:
Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Security and Homeland Defense IX
Edward M. Carapezza, Editor(s)

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