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Title: Honeypot boulevard : understanding malicious activity via decoy accounts
Author: Onaolapo, Jeremiah
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 5313
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis describes the development and deployment of honeypot systems to measure real-world cybercriminal activity in online accounts. Compromised accounts expose users to serious threats including information theft and abuse. By analysing the modus operandi of criminals that compromise and abuse online accounts, we aim to provide insights that will be useful in the development of mitigation techniques. We explore account compromise and abuse across multiple online platforms that host webmail, social, and cloud document accounts. First, we design and create realistic decoy accounts (honeypots) and build covert infrastructure to monitor activity in them. Next, we leak credentials of those accounts online to lure miscreants to the accounts. Finally, we record and analyse the resulting activity in the compromised accounts. Our top three findings on what happens after online accounts are attacked can be summarised as follows. First, attackers that know the locations of webmail account owners tend to connect from places that are closer to those locations. Second, we show that demographic attributes of social accounts influence how cybercriminals interact with them. Third, in cloud documents, we show that document content influences the activity of cybercriminals. We have released a tool for setting up webmail honeypots to help other researchers that may be interested in setting up their own honeypots.
Supervisor: Stringhini, G. ; De Cristofaro, E. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available