Botnet Spam Campaigns Can Be Long Lasting: Evidence, Implications, and Analysis

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Executive Summary

Accurately identifying spam campaigns launched by a large number of bots in a botnet allows for accurate spam campaign signature generation and hence is critical to defeating spamming botnets. The straight-forward approach of clustering all spam containing the same label such as an URL into a campaign can be easily defeated by techniques such as simple obfuscations of URLs. In this paper, the authors perform a comprehensive study of content-agnostic characteristics of spam campaigns, e.g., duration and source-network distribution of spammers, in order to ascertain whether and how they can assist the simple label-based clustering methods in identifying campaigns and generating campaign signatures.

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