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Thwarting Zero-Day Polymorphic Worms With Network-Level Length-Based Signature Generation

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5 Author(s)
Lanjia Wang ; Tsinghua Univ., Beijing, China ; Zhichun Li ; Yan Chen ; Zhi Fu
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It is crucial to detect zero-day polymorphic worms and to generate signatures at network gateways or honeynets so that we can prevent worms from propagating at their early phase. However, most existing network-based signatures are specific to exploit and can be easily evaded. In this paper, we propose generating vulnerability-driven signatures at network level without any host-level analysis of worm execution or vulnerable programs. As the first step, we design a network-based length-based signature generator (LESG) for the worms exploiting buffer overflow vulnerabilities. The signatures generated are intrinsic to buffer overflows, and are very difficult for attackers to evade. We further prove the attack resilience bounds even under worst-case attacks with deliberate noise injection. Moreover, LESG is fast and noise-tolerant and has efficient signature matching. Evaluation based on real-world vulnerabilities of various protocols and real network traffic demonstrates that LESG is promising in achieving these goals.

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Networking, IEEE/ACM Transactions on  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 1 )