As a result of increasing spam, DDoS attacks, cybercrime, and data exfiltration from corporate and government sites, there have been multiple calls for an Internet architecture that enables better network attribution at the packet layer. The intent is for a mechanism that links a packet to some packet level personally identifiable information. But cyberattacks and cyberexploitations are more different than they are the same. One result of these distinctions is that packet-level attribution is neither as useful nor as necessary as it would appear. In this talk, I analyze the different types of Internet-based attacks, and observe the role that currently available alternatives to attribution already play in deterrence and prosecution. I focus on the particular character of multi-stage network attacks, in which machine A penetrates and “takes over” machine B, which then does the same to machine C, etc. and consider how these types of attacks might be traced, and observe that any technical contribution can only be contemplated in the larger regulatory context of various legal jurisdictions.
This represents joint work with David Clark of MIT.
Susan Landau is a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study for the 2010-2011 academic year. Her book, “Surveillance or Security? The Risks Posed by New Wiretapping Technologies,” will be published by MIT Press in March 2011. From 1999-2010 Landau was a Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems; there she concentrated on the interplay between security and public policy. Landau has briefed government officials in both Washington and Europe on such disparate issues as security risks in surveillance mechanisms, digital rights management, and cryptographic export control, and she has written numerous articles and op-eds on these issues. Most recently she testified for the House Science Committee on Cybersecurity Activities at NIST’s Information Technology Laboratory. She and Whitfield Diffie wrote “Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption.” Landau is a member of the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency, established by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and serves on the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Research Council and on the advisory committee for the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science Engineering. Before joining Sun, Landau was a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts and Wesleyan University. Landau is the recipient of the 2008 Women of Vision Social Impact Award, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and an ACM Distinguished Engineer.