INI Seminar: Nicolas Christin

Time: September 10, 2010 - 2:30 AM - 3:50 PM

Location: DEC@Henry


The INI welcomes Dr. Nicolas Christin, the Associate Director of Carnegie Mellon University's Information Networking Institute, where he also serves as a faculty. The presentation is titled "Dissecting One-Click Fraud."

The INI Seminar takes place every Friday, 2:30 - 3:50 p.m. This week's seminar takes place at the Distributed Education Classroom at Henry Street (The INI Building).

Speaker: Dr. Nicolas Christin

Talk Abstract: "One Click Fraud" is an online confidence scam that has been plaguing an increasing number of Japanese Internet users, in spite of new laws and the mobilization of police task forces. In this scam, the  victim clicks on a link presented to  them, only  to  be  informed that  they  just entered  a binding contract and are required  to pay a registration fee for a service. Even though no money is legally owed, a large number of users prefer to pay up, because of potential embarrassment due to the type of service "requested" (e.g., pornographic goods). Using public reports of fraudulent websites as a source of data, we analyze over 2,000 reported One Click Frauds incidents. By correlating  several attributes  (WHOIS data, bank  accounts, phone  numbers, malware  installed...),  we discover that a  few fraudsters  are seemingly  responsible for  a majority  of  the  scams, and evidence a number of loopholes these  miscreants exploit. We further show that, while some of these sites may also be engaging in other illicit activities such as spamming, the connection between different types of scams is not as obvious as we initially expected. Last, we show that the rise in the number of these frauds is fueled by high expected monetary gains in return for very little risk. The quantitative data obtained gives us an interesting window on the economic dynamics of some online criminal syndicates. (Joint work with Sally Yanagihara and Keisuke Kamataki.)
Speaker Bio: Nicolas is in addition a CyLab Systems Scientist, and (by courtesy) a faculty member in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department. He holds a Diplôme d'Ingénieur from École Centrale Lille, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Virginia. While in graduate school, he worked at Nortel's Advanced Technology Lab. Before joining Carnegie Mellon in 2005, he was a post-doctoral researcher in the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley. He served for three years as resident faculty in the CyLab Japan program in Kobe (Japan), before returning to Carnegie Mellon's main campus in 2008.