Security

Serf and Turf: Crowdturfing for Fun and Profit

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Executive Summary

Popular Internet services in recent years have shown that remarkable things can be achieved by harnessing the power of the masses using crowd-sourcing systems. However, crowd-sourcing systems can also pose a real challenge to existing security mechanisms deployed to protect Internet services. Many of these security techniques rely on the assumption that malicious activity is generated automatically by automated programs. Thus they would perform poorly or be easily bypassed when attacks are generated by real users working in a crowd-sourcing system. Through measurements, the authors have found surprising evidence showing that not only do malicious crowd-sourcing systems exist, but they are rapidly growing in both user base and total revenue.

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