Nav: Home

New malicious email detection method that outperforms 60 antivirus engines -- Ben-Gurion

July 19, 2018

NEW YORK, July 19, 2018 - Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) Malware Lab researchers have developed a new method to detect unknown, malicious emails that is more accurate than the most popular antivirus software products. Email messages are widely used by attackers to deliver dangerous content to a victim, such as attachments or links to malicious websites.

"Existing email analysis solutions only analyze specific email elements using rule-based methods, and don't analyze other important parts," says Dr. Nir Nissim, head of the David and Janet Polak Family Malware Lab at Cyber@BGU, and a member of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management. "Moreover, existing antivirus engines primarily use signature-based detection methods, and therefore are insufficient for detecting new, unknown malicious emails."

This method, called Email-Sec-360°, was developed by Aviad Cohen, a Ph.D. student and researcher at the BGU Malware Lab. The research, published in the exclusive scientific journal Expert Systems with Applications, is based on machine learning methods and leverages 100 general descriptive features extracted from all email components, including the header, body and attachments. The methodology does not require internet access, so it can be deployed by individuals and organizations, and it provides enhanced threat detection in real time.

For their experiments, the researchers used a collection of 33,142 emails (12,835 malicious and 20,307 benign) obtained between 2013 and 2016. They compared their detection model to 60 industry-leading antivirus engines as well as previous research, and found their system outperformed the next best antivirus engine by 13 percent -- significantly better than such products including Kaspersky, MacAfee and Avast.

"In future work, we are extending our research and integrating analysis of attachments such as PDFs and Microsoft Office documents within Email-Sec-360°, since these are often used by hackers to get users to open and propagate viruses and malware," Dr. Nissim says. "These analysis methods have already been developed by the David and Janet Polak Family Malware Lab at BGU."

The Malware Lab researchers are also considering developing an online system that evaluates the security risk posed by an email message. It would be based on advanced machine learning methods and allow users worldwide to submit suspicious email messages and instantly obtain a maliciousness score and a recommendation on how to treat the email. In addition, the system would assist in collecting benign and malicious emails for research purposes which, due to privacy issues, is currently a very difficult task for researchers in this arena.
-end-
The research team includes Aviad Cohen's academic advisors, Dr. Nir Nissim, the head of the Malware Lab, and Prof. Yuval Elovici, the director of the Telekom Innovation Labs@BGU, and of Cyber@BGU.

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion's vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University's expertise locally and around the globe. As Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) looks ahead to turning 50 in 2020, AABGU imagines a future that goes beyond the walls of academia. It is a future where BGU invents a new world and inspires a vision for a stronger Israel and its next generation of leaders. Together with supporters, AABGU will help the University foster excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the communities of the Negev for the next 50 years and beyond. Visit vision.aabgu.org to learn more.

AABGU, which is headquartered in Manhattan, has nine regional offices throughout the United States. For more information, visit http://www.aabgu.org.

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Related Malware Articles:

Browser tool aims to help researchers ID malicious websites, code
Researchers have developed an open-source tool that allows users to track and record the behavior of JavaScript programs without alerting the websites that run those programs.
Tech companies not doing enough to protect users from phishing scams
Just over 15 years after the first reported incident of phishing, new research from the University of Plymouth suggests tech companies could be doing more to protect users from the threat of scams.
New computer attack mimics user's keystroke characteristics and evades detection, according to Ben-Gurion University cyber researchers
'Our proposed detection modules are trusted and secured, based on information that can be measured from side-channel resources, in addition to data transmission,' Farhi says.
Illinois researchers add 'time-travel' feature to drives to fight ransomware attacks
One of the latest cyber threats involves hackers encrypting user files and then charging ''ransom'' to get them back.
Design flaws create security vulnerabilities for 'smart home' internet-of-things devices
NC State researchers find countermeasures for designers of security systems and other smart home devices.
New technique uses power anomalies to ID malware in embedded systems
Researchers have developed a technique for detecting types of malware that use a system's architecture to thwart traditional security measures.
How a personality trait puts you at risk for cybercrime
Impulse online shopping, downloading music and compulsive email use are all signs of a certain personality trait that make you a target for malware attacks.
Research finds bots and Russian trolls influenced vaccine discussion on Twitter
Social media bots and Russian trolls promoted discord and spread false information about vaccines on Twitter using tactics similar to those at work during the 2016 United States presidential election, according to new research led by the George Washington University.
New malicious email detection method that outperforms 60 antivirus engines -- Ben-Gurion
They compared their detection model to 60 industry-leading antivirus engines as well as previous research, and found their system outperformed the next best antivirus engine by 13 percent -- significantly better than such products including Kaspersky, MacAfee and Avast.
Can your cardiac device be hacked?
Medical devices, including cardiovascular implantable electronic devices could be at risk for hacking.
More Malware News and Malware Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#543 Give a Nerd a Gift
Yup, you guessed it... it's Science for the People's annual holiday episode that helps you figure out what sciency books and gifts to get that special nerd on your list. Or maybe you're looking to build up your reading list for the holiday break and a geeky Christmas sweater to wear to an upcoming party. Returning are pop-science power-readers John Dupuis and Joanne Manaster to dish on the best science books they read this past year. And Rachelle Saunders and Bethany Brookshire squee in delight over some truly delightful science-themed non-book objects for those whose bookshelves are already full. Since...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab