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Worms are a significant threat to network systems, both through resource consumption and malicious activity. This paper examines the spread of a class of hitlist-based worms that attempt to propagate by searching for address book files on the host system and using the host's mail program to spread to the addresses found. This threat becomes more severe when the worms are assumed to be polymorphic in nature - able to dynamically change their signature to elude capture. Because the method of propagation for these worms is predictable, it is possible to contain their spread through the use of honeytoken e-mail addresses in the client address book. Any e-mail received by the honeytoken address will be immediately recognized as malicious and can therefore be used to flag client machines as infected. This paper provides a complete description of a method to allow for better containment of this class of worms. The results of the proposed method are examined and compared to a previous method of capturing this type of worm.
Date of Conference: 13-16 Aug. 2007