Week 12 ( 2nd Sems) – Researcher Meetings & WhoWas results

This week, along with other student researchers  I was able to meet with a visiting researcher, Saiha Guha, who came to give talk about his paper, “Characterizing Large-Scale Click Fraud in ZeroAccess“. This was an opportunity to discuss my research and receive feedback and insights. Having  previously written the Poster Abstract was quite helpful, as I was able to succinctly explain the goals and methods of my research.

In terms of the WhoWas data, as suspected the reverse DNS lookups  on a few IP clusters resolved the generic format and not shared domain name.  I have extracted a list of unique servers from the WhoWas data and am in the process of looking through to identify load-balancing servers. At initial glance it appears Apache, followed by nginx are the most common servers, but we will continue to look for other services.

Week 11 ( 2nd Sems) – Conference Registration + WhoWas Data

This week I finished registration and booking to attend the NDSI 2015 conference in Oakland, CA. Fortunately, the cost of the trip will be covered with a combination of CREU funds and the NDSI travel grant I received.

We also discussed looking at some old WhoWas data to investigate some preliminary hypotheses.  First, we thought it would be useful search the cloud space to see what sort of load-balancing services, if any,  were in use. The old WhoWas data is stored in a mysql database, so this task is as simple a running a sql query on the server field of IP header packet tables. Secondly, we also wish to explore the scenario such that if vms are behind a load balancer, would the reverse DNS lookup of those vm’s IPs resolve to the same domain name? The potential issue lies in that domain names in the cloud may be a generic individualized format  ( www.some-ip.aws.amazon.com” rather than an shared domain name. Without a shared domain name, we cannot map or clusters those  of IPs. Therefore  by performing reverse DNS lookups on IP clusters from the old WhoWas data, we can try to establish ground truth on this issue.

Week 10 (2nd Sems) – Spring Break

Happy Spring Break everyone!

In other good news, my NDSI grant application was accepted. Registration and a small travel stipend was included in the award.  Thank you NSDI! We plan to discuss how to cover the rest of the funding next week after spring break.

Week 9 ( 2nd Sems) – Travel Grant

This week I completed a travel grant application, which  included writing another application essay. Fortunately, this turned out which turned out to be a great deal shorter than the poster abstract, but still required a concise summary of my work and an explanation of how attending the conference would be relevant to my field to study.  Following is a snippet from my essay:

Attending the 12th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation will be a valuable capstone to my first undergraduate research experience. I am currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and expect graduate in May 2015. I was selected to be among the 2014-15 Collaborative Research Experience for Undergraduates (CREU) cohort spearhead by CRA-W.  Working under faculty advisor Aditya Akella and graduate mentor Aaron Gember-Jacobson, I spent most of the year researching networked systems in public Infrastructure-as-a-Service ( Iaas) clouds. Particularly, I researched methods to discover hosts behind a load-balancer configured in Amazon EC2.  I’ve evaluated several techniques including counting IPid sequences in IP packets sent between the server and client, using TCP timestamps to calculate the clock skew of individual machines, looking for HTTP cookies from the server and more.  As a result, over the past year I have had the opportunity to explore the many aspects of scientific research including formulating and vetting research ideas, gathering, processing and interpreting data, finding and reading related works, writing a poster abstract, and summarizing and presenting my work to others. Attending NSDI 2015 would allow me to see not only what other ideas in the field people have been researching, but also how students, professors, and industry professionals share and use the discoveries of academic research. It will also be a valuable opportunity to receive feedback on my own research, and I would be willing to a scribe for one of the sessions.