Farooqi, Shafiq, et al. awarded Best Paper at ACM IMC 2017

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 - 4:46pm

Third year PhD student Sherhoze Farooqi, his advisor Prof. Shafiq, and their collaborators Fareed Zafar (Lahore University of Management Sciences) and Nektarios Leontiadis (Facebook) received the Best Paper award at IMC2017 for their research on the study and disruption of collusion networks (paper).

Title: Measuring and Mitigating OAuth Access Token Abuse by Collusion Networks

Abstract: We uncover a thriving ecosystem of large-scale reputation manipulation services on Facebook that leverage the principle of collusion. Collusion networks collect OAuth access tokens from colluding members and abuse them to provide fake likes or comments to their members. We carry out a comprehensive measurement study to understand how these collusion networks exploit popular third-party Facebook applications with weak security settings to retrieve OAuth access tokens. We infiltrate popular collusion networks using honeypots and identify more than one million colluding Facebook accounts by "milking" these collusion networks. We disclose our findings to Facebook and collaborate with them to implement a series of countermeasures that mitigate OAuth access token abuse without sacrificing application platform usability for third-party developers. These countermeasures remained in place until April 2017, after which Facebook implemented a set of unrelated changes in its infrastructure to counter collusion networks. We are the first to report and effectively mitigate large-scale OAuth access token abuse in the wild.

More on this research here and in this piece from the UI Office of Strategic Communication.