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Large Scale Monitoring of Broadband Internet Infrastructure

Project description

Research Networking test beds Keeping a watchful eye on cyber crime

Taking to heart the premise that you must know your enemies before you can defeat them, European researchers have created an innovative system to monitor computer viruses and cyber attacks on the internet.

The platform, which uses sensors deployed in different countries to passively track internet traffic on a large scale, is helping researchers understand the threats internet users face.

The information gathered by the system can then be used to develop new tools to protect citizens, companies and governments from viruses and attacks. Overall, it will help to make the internet a safer place.

Developed by researchers in the Lobster project, the system is the first of its kind in Europe and one of only three similar endeavours in the world.

An international network of sensors

Sensors set up at 50 locations in 10 countries monitor and analyse internet traffic to detect all manner of cyber mischief, from viruses and worms being propagated between home computers to attacks by hackers on the networks of companies and public organisations.

The sensors are capable of monitoring traffic from more than two million computers at the same time on networks with a cumulative capacity of up to 25 gigabits per second – about 25,000 times the speed of most home broadband connections.

Complex algorithms are used to weed out malicious internet traffic from normal traffic picked up by the sensors. The system is even capable of detecting so-called polymorphic attacks in which hackers send malicious code masquerading as innocent-looking web traffic.

One attack every 30 seconds

Since the project began in October 2004, the network of sensors has detected close to one million cyber attacks – an average of one attack every 30 seconds. On some occasions, the sensors identified attacks as frequently as once every two seconds.

The researchers found that attacks come from all over the world, with 70% originating from and targeting computers within the same network, suggesting the existence of large numbers of compromised computers on private and public networks.

A testbed for network security

The project’s findings are already helping researchers in developing new methods to fight cyber crime.

The system provides a kind of test bed for internet security organisations and researchers to try out new techniques on a large scale for tasks such as traffic characterisation, attack detection and quality-of-service monitoring.

Stopping the cyber plague

With hackers continually increasing the scale and sophistication of attacks, internet monitoring will undoubtedly become ever more important in order to detect vulnerabilities and weaknesses in network security.

Researchers hope that the Lobster project’s results and related initiatives will help to stop or even reverse the trend toward increasing levels of cyber crime, which by some estimates have led to one in every four computers worldwide being compromised at a cost to citizens, companies and governments of hundreds of billions of euros each year.

Call for proposal

FP6-2003-IST-2
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

SSA - Specific Support Action

Coordinator

IDRYMA TECHNOLOGIAS KAI EREVNAS
Address
N Plastira Str 100
70013 Irakleio
Greece
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 365 655,60

Participants (9)

CESNET ZAJMOVE SDRUZENI PRAVNICKYCH OSOB
Czechia
EU contribution
€ 155 194
Address
Zikova 4
160 00 Praha 6
Activity type
Research Organisations
ALCATEL VACCUM TECHNOLOGY FRANCE SAS
France
EU contribution
€ 204 958
Address
Avenue Octave Greard 3
75007 Paris
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
ELLINIKI ETAIRIA TILEPIKOINONION KAI TILEMATIKON EFARMOGON AE
Greece
EU contribution
€ 81 520
Address
Vassilika Vouton Technologiko Parko
71500 Irakleio Kriti
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
NEDERLANDSE ORGANISATIE VOOR TOEGEPAST NATUURWETENSCHAPPELIJK ONDERZOEK TNO
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 145 281,70
Address
Anna Van Buerenplein 1
2595 DA Den Haag
Activity type
Research Organisations
VERENIGING VOOR CHRISTELIJK HOGER ONDERWIJS WETENSCHAPPELIJK ONDERZOEK EN PATIENTENZORG
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 301 000
Address
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
GEANT VERENIGING
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 92 120
Address
Hoekenrode 3
1102 BR Amsterdam
Activity type
Research Organisations
UNINETT AS
Norway
EU contribution
€ 182 200
Address
Abelsgate 5
7030 Trondheim
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
SYMANTEC-LIRIC LIMITED
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 97 142,70
Address
Hines Meadow - Saint Clouds Way
SL6 8XB Maidenhead-berkshire
Activity type
Other
ENDACE EUROPE LIMITED

Participation ended

United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
35 Hills Road
CB2 1NT Cambridge