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I am looking to write a research paper for an undergraduate class in security. I'd like to explore the details of a security attack that's happened within the last ~15 years (within the last 5 years is better). This topic really interests me but I'm having trouble finding a suitable topic.

What attacks can you recommend? Good candidates would be attacks that:

  • Are well documented (lots of technical details), including which vulnerabilities were exploited and great detail about how the attack was done
  • Have the attack's code that can be analysed on github or made public

Edit: I was going to pick the topic of the Playstation network DDoS by Anonymous, but that topic has already been selected by another student.

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From your description, it seems to me that you are interested in the engineering aspect of security rather than the theoretical computer science aspect, and therefore I doubt that you are asking the question in the right place. Nevertheless, in case you are interested in the relation between theory and practice, one of the recent attempts to relate them better is the study of side-channel attacks and device-independent security, and it is a hot topic in quantum cryptography these days. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Feb 11 '13 at 1:58
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Closing the question as off-topic. Please see the policy regarding project topics. –  Kaveh Feb 11 '13 at 5:48
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closed as off topic by JɛffE, Kaveh Feb 11 '13 at 5:48

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1 Answer

How about the de-anonymization of the Netflix Prize dataset?

"Robust De-anonymization of Large Sparse Datasets" by Arvind Narayanan and Vitaly Shmatikov https://www.cs.utexas.edu/~shmat/shmat_oak08netflix.pdf

It's ~5 years old, it's got a strong theory element to it, it's been implemented, and it's /sexy/ -- because Netflix.

It's possible that understanding (and perhaps coding up) the algorithms in the paper would be enough for an undergraduate course project on its own. It's also open-ended enough of an idea that you could really do a lot of different things with it, depending on your particular tastes.

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