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Seminar:  Measuring and Defending Against Search-Result Poisoning

Date:April 21, 2014 
Talk Title:Measuring and Defending Against Search-Result Poisoning
Speaker:Nicolas Christin
Time & Location:12:00pm - 1:00pm
CIC Building, Pittsburgh


Search-result poisoning---the technique of fraudulently manipulating web search results---has become over the past few years a primary means of advertisement for operators of questionable websites. I will first describe the evolution of search-result poisoning using data on over five million search results that we collected over nearly four years. I will then discuss the design, implementation and evaluation of a novel classification system which predicts, whether a given, not yet compromised website will become malicious in the future. Such a system could be proactively used at scale to prevent compromises of vulnerable web servers, in turn making search-poisoning attacks far more difficult.

Speaker Bio

Nicolas Christin is an Assistant Research Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, where he has also affiliations with CyLab, the computer and information security research center, the Information Networking Institute and the department of Engineering and Public Policy.  He holds a Diplôme d'Ingénieur from École Centrale Lille, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Virginia. He was a researcher in the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley, prior to joining Carnegie Mellon in 2005. His research interests are in computer and information systems networks; most of his work is at the boundary of systems and policy research, with a slant toward security aspects. He has most recently focused on online crime, security economics, and psychological aspects of computer security. His group's research won several awards including Honorable Mention at ACM CHI 2011, and Best Student Paper Award at USENIX Security 2014. He equally enjoys field measurements and mathematical modeling.