Conficker and beyond: a large-scale empirical study Conference Paper uri icon


  • Conficker [26] is the most recent widespread, well-known worm/bot. According to several reports [16, 28], it has infected about 7 million to 15 million hosts and the victims are still increasing even now. In this paper, we analyze Conficker infections at a large scale, including about 25 millions victims, and study various interesting aspects about this state-of-the-art malware. By analyzing Conficker, we intend to understand current and new trends in malware propagation, which could be very helpful in predicting future malware trends and providing insights for future malware defense. We observe that Conficker has some very different victim distribution patterns compared to many previous generation worms/botnets, suggesting that new malware spreading models and defense strategies are likely needed. Furthermore, we intend to determine how well a reputation-based blacklisting approach can perform when faced with new malware threats such as Conficker. We cross-check several DNS blacklists and IP/AS reputation data from Dshield [6] and FIRE [7], and our evaluation shows that unlike a previous study [18] which shows that a blacklist-based approach can detect most bots, these reputation-based approaches did relatively poorly for Conficker. This raised the question, how can we improve and complement existing reputation-based techniques to prepare for future malware defense? Finally, we look into some insights for defenders. We show that neighborhood watch is a surprisingly effective approach in the Conficker case. This suggests that security alert sharing/correlation (particularly among neighborhood networks) could be a promising approach and play a more important role for future malware defense. Copyright 2010 ACM.

name of conference

  • Proceedings of the 26th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference

published proceedings

  • Proceedings of the 26th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference

author list (cited authors)

  • Shin, S., & Gu, G.

citation count

  • 71

complete list of authors

  • Shin, Seungwon||Gu, Guofei

publication date

  • January 2010