Detection of Attack-Targeted Scans from The Apache HTTP Server Access Logs

Abstract

A web application could be visited for different purposes. It is possible for a web site to be visited by a regular user as a normal (natural) visit, to be viewed by crawlers, bots, spiders, etc. for indexing purposes, lastly to be exploratory scanned by malicious users prior to an attack. An attack targeted web scan can be viewed as a phase of a potential attack and can lead to more attack detection as compared to traditional detection methods. In this work, we propose a method to detect attack-oriented scans and to distinguish them from other types of visits. In this context, we use access log files of Apache (or ISS) web servers and try to determine attack situations through examination of the past data. In addition to web scan detections, we insert a rule set to detect SQL Injection and XSS attacks. Our approach has been applied on sample data sets and results have been analyzed in terms of performance measures to compare our method and other commonly used detection techniques. Furthermore, various tests have been made on log samples from real systems. Lastly, several suggestions about further development have been also discussed.

Publication
Applied Computing and Informatics
Date