Date of Award

6-2018

Degree Name

MS in Computer Science

Department

Computer Science

Advisor

Dr. Bruce Debruhl

Abstract

As humanity becomes more reliant on digital storage and communication for every aspect of life, cyber attacks pose a growing threat. However, cyber attacks are generally understood as individual incidents reported in technological circles, sometimes tied to a particular vulnerability. They are not generally understood through the macroscopic lens of statistical analysis spanning years over several countries and sectors, leaving researchers largely ignorant of the larger trends and correlates between attacks. This is large part due to the lack of a coherent and open database of prominent attacks. Most data about cyber attacks has been captured using a repository of common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE’s), and \honey pots", unsecured internet-connected devices which record attacks as they occur against them. These approaches help in the process of identifying vulnerabilities, but they do not capture the real world impact these attacks achieve. Therefore, in this thesis I create a database of 4,000 cyber attacks using a semi-open data source, and perform analytical queries on it to gather insights into how cyber attack volume varies among countries and sectors, and the correlates of cyber attack victims. From here, it is also possible to relate socio-economic data such as GDP and World Happiness Index to cyber attack volume. The end result is an open database of cyber attacks that allows researchers to understand the larger underlying forces which propel cyber attacks.

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