Title page for ETD etd-05182004-085925

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Pande, Rishikesh A
URN etd-05182004-085925
Title Using Plant Epidemiological Methods to Track Computer Network Worms
Degree Master of Science
Department Computer Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Arthur, James D. Committee Chair
Marchany, Randolph C. Committee Member
Murali, T. M. Committee Member
  • spatial spread
  • plant epidemiology
  • computer viruses
  • network worms
Date of Defense 2004-05-06
Availability unrestricted
Network worms that scan random computers have caused billions of dollars in damage to enterprises across the Internet. Earlier research has concentrated on using epidemiological models to predict the number of computers a worm will infect and how long it takes to do so. In this research, one possible approach is outlined for predicting the spatial flow of a worm within the local area network (LAN).

The approach in this research is based on the application of mathematical models and variables inherent in plant epidemiology. In particular, spatial autocorrelation has been identified as a candidate variable that helps predict the spread of a worm over a LAN. This research describes the application of spatial autocorrelation to the geography and topology of the LAN and describes the methods used to determine spatial autocorrelation. Also discussed is the data collection process and methods used to extract pertinent information. Data collection and analyses are applied to the spread of three historical network worms on the Virginia Tech campus and the results are described.

Spatial autocorrelation exists in the spread of network worms across the Virginia Tech campus when the geographic aspect is considered. If a new network worm were to start spreading across Virginia Tech’s campus, spatial autocorrelation would facilitate tracking the geographical locations of the spread. In addition if an infection with a known value of spatial autocorrelation is detected, the characteristics of the worm can be identified without a complete analysis.

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