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Mining (Social) Network Graphs to Detect Random Link Attacks

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3 Author(s)
Shrivastava, N. ; Bell-Labs. Res., Bangalore ; Majumder, A. ; Rastogi, R.

Modern communication networks are vulnerable to attackers who send unsolicited messages to innocent users, wasting network resources and user time. Some examples of such attacks are spam emails, annoying tele-marketing phone calls, viral marketing in social networks, etc. Existing techniques to identify these attacks are tailored to certain specific domains (like email spam filtering), but are not applicable to a majority of other networks. We provide a generic abstraction of such attacks, called the Random Link Attack (RLA), that can be used to describe a large class of attacks in communication networks. In an RLA, the malicious user creates a set of false identities and uses them to communicate with a large, random set of innocent users. We mine the social networking graph extracted from user interactions in the communication network to find RLAs. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to conceptualize the attack definition, applicable to a variety of communication networks. In this paper, we formally define RLA and show that the problem of finding an RLA is NP-complete. We also provide two efficient heuristics to mine subgraphs satisfying the RLA property; the first (GREEDY) is based on greedy set-expansion, and the second (TRWALK) on randomized graph traversal. Our experiments with a real-life data set demonstrate the effectiveness of these algorithms.

Published in:

Data Engineering, 2008. ICDE 2008. IEEE 24th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

7-12 April 2008