ACES Alumni Research Accepted at International Conference

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In popular culture, hackers are shown staying up late, working in the dark in the middle of the night to hack into others’ servers. But is that image accurate? That’s what former ACES students Kevin Bock ‘17 and Sydnee Shannon ‘17 set out to find when they began their research with program director Dr. Michel Cukier.

Kevin and Sydnee were both members of the inaugural ACES cohort in 2013. They began doing research on honeypots with Dr. Cukier the spring of their freshmen year, and that research eventually evolved into a published paper their senior year.

Their paper, titled “Application of Routine Activity Theory to Cyber Intrusion Location and Time,” set out to see if there was a certain time of day or night that hackers were most likely to attack. Studying over 2,000 honeypots, they analyzed the times in the native time zone of the hackers and the times in the native time zones of the victims to look for any statistically significant patterns.

Their findings? That image we all have of the nocturnal hacker is not necessarily true. While there are times that see more or fewer attacks, the day vs. night dichotomy does not hold up.

In the spring of 2017, the end of their senior year, Kevin and Sydnee submitted their paper and were accepted into the 13th European Dependable Computer Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.  

While they were not able to attend the conference because of work, Dr. Cukier went and presented the findings at the conference, which was held at the beginning of September.

While Kevin and Sydnee helped begin the research on honeypots as freshmen in ACES, they were not the last. The project has changed and evolved, but there is still much to learn. Current ACES students continue to do work on the honeypots and analyzing the data sets.

“It’s pretty cool to look back and see other students being involved and watching it grow,” says Kevin.

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Published October 12, 2017