Analysis of Credential Stealing Attacks in an Open Networked Environment

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This paper analyses the forensic data on credential stealing incidents over a period of 5 years across 5000 machines monitored at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois. The analysis conducted is the first attempt in an open operational environment (i) to evaluate the intricacies of carrying out SSH-based credential stealing attacks, (ii) to highlight and quantify key characteristics of such attacks, and (iii) to provide the system level characterization of such incidents in terms of distribution of alerts and incident consequences.