BERKELEY, Calif., Aug. 29, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) today announced that the paper “Detecting Credential Spearphishing Attacks in Enterprise Settings” won Facebook’s Internet Defense Prize at the USENIX Security Symposium in Vancouver, BC. The paper proposed and evaluated a methodology for effectively detecting spearphishing attacks in corporate networks while achieving a very low number of false positives.

The paper was authored by Grant Ho, University of California, Berkeley; Aashish Sharma, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Mobin Javed, University of California, Berkeley and International Computer Science Institute; Professor Vern Paxson, University of California, Berkeley, International Computer Science Institute, and co-founder and Chief Scientist of Corelight; and Professor David Wagner, University of California, Berkeley.

“This research is important for two reasons. First, in recent history, successful spearphishing attacks have led to a number of prominent information leaks. Every time the community improves the detection or prevention of compromise from a technical standpoint, the human factor becomes an even stronger focal point of adversaries. Helping protect people from social engineering attacks becomes even more important. This research can help reduce the potential of such compromises happening in the future,” said Nektarios Leontiadis, a Security Research Scientist in the Threats Infrastructure team at Facebook. “Secondly, the authors acknowledge and account for the cost of false positives in their detection methodology. This is significant because it factors into the overhead cost and response time for incident response teams.”

Professor Paxson commented: “A huge shout-out to Berkeley Lab's (LBL) operational security team for working in depth with us on this research. Their extensive and detailed logs of past activity, meticulous incident database documenting previous compromises, and wide-ranging operational savvy proved invaluable in developing a demonstrably robust approach to detecting these attacks. Also invaluable was the tenacity and inventiveness of the PhD students; Grant in particular worked on the problem for two solid years, continually moving it forward despite all sorts of hurdles. I really look forward to the team's future collaborations!”

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About International Computer Science Institute
The International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) is a leading center for research in computer science and one of the few independent, nonprofit research institutes in the United States. With its unique focus on international collaboration and its affiliation with the University of California at Berkeley, ICSI brings together the most influential U.S. computer scientists and experts from around the world. Current areas of research include computer networking, speech and language processing, brain networks, computer vision, audio and multimedia analysis, usable security and privacy, big data, artificial intelligence, 5G, and cybermanufacturing. Algorithm development--with application to genomics, video and speech processing, Internet routing and measurement, and machine learning--is one of ICSI's particular strengths. For more information, visit ICSI at, and follow us at

About University of California, Berkeley 
The University of California, Berkeley is the world's premier public university dedicated to excellence in teaching, research and public service. This longstanding mission has led to the university's distinguished record of Nobel-level scholarship, constant innovation, a concern for the betterment of our world, and consistently high rankings of its schools and departments. The campus offers superior, high-value education for extraordinarily talented students from all walks of life, operational excellence, and a commitment to the competitiveness and prosperity of California, the nation, and the world. The University of California was chartered in 1868 and its flagship campus in Berkeley, on San Francisco Bay, was envisioned as a "City of Learning." Today, there are more than 1,500 full-time and 500 part-time faculty members dispersed among more than 130 academic departments and more than 80 interdisciplinary research units. Twenty-two Nobel Prizes have been awarded to faculty, and 29 Nobel Prizes to UC Berkeley alumni. There are 7 Nobel Laureates, 32 MacArthur Fellows, and 4 Pulitzer Prize winners among the current faculty. 

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