Seminar: Measuring and Mitigating Online Abuse

Event Date: 
Mon, 2018-03-26 10:15 - 11:15

Location:  310 Kelly Hall
Speaker: Gianluca Stringhini

The spectrum of online abuse is wide, going from malware holding their victim’s data hostage, to trolls orchestrating hate campaigns against people who hold opposing views, to organized disinformation campaigns aimed at swaying public opinion. The general increase in sophistication and scale of malicious operations makes measuring, modeling, and mitigating them a very challenging task.
First, these operations often span multiple hosts and online services, and it is difficult to gain a comprehensive view of what is happening and to correlate heterogeneous data into forming a coherent model of such activity.  Second, abusers are rational beings, and they react to each mitigation by modifying their way of operating, avoiding detection.
In this talk, I will provide an overview of the data-driven work that I have been conducting on modeling and mitigating malicious online operations. I will first give an overview of my research on studying large-scale malware operations, looking at multiple vantage points such as infected computers, malicious servers, and “mules” who launder the financial information that the malware manages to steal. I will then focus on recent work in which I developed models that can measure how “fringe” online communities within 4chan and Reddit influence the greater Web, with respect to organizing hate campaigns against opponents as well as spreading disinformation. Finally, I will outline my vision for future research, arguing that effective mitigations require holistic solutions drawing from computer science and engineering but also from the social sciences.

Gianluca Stringhini is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Computer Science and Crime Science at University College London. He obtained a PhD in Computer Science from UCSB in 2014, where he worked under the supervision of Christopher Kruegel and Giovanni Vigna. Gianluca works in the area of data-driven security, analyzing large datasets to better understand complex malicious online operations and developing mitigation techniques to fight them. He was awarded a Google Faculty Research Award in 2015, the Symantec Research Labs Fellowship in 2012, and multiple Best Paper Awards. He has published in top security conferences such as CCS, NDSS, and USENIX Security, as well as top measurement and Web conferences such as IMC, ICWSM, and WWW.