Andrew G. West

Andrew G. West a Research Scientist at Verisign Labs of Verisign, Inc. in the greater Washington D.C. area. In Spring 2013 I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in the Dept. of Computer and Information Science in Philadelpia, PA. I received my M.S.E. from Penn in 2010 and did my undergraduate study at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA where I received my B.Sc. in Computer Science in 2007.

At Verisign Labs I am applying techniques developed in my graduate work to Verisign's Internet-scale routing and security data. Our goal is to improve the availability, reliability, and safety of the Web via applied research, participation in technical forums, and the development of intellectual property assets. Verisign Labs is also recruiting new team members.

Prior to Verisign, my dissertation work investigated anti-abuse in collaborative information systems. Highlights included developing the STiki anti-vandalism tool that has removed 500,000+ unconstructive edits from Wikipedia. My article "Examining the Popularity of Wikipedia Articles..." was covered by Gizmodo and The Atlantic. My publication "Link Spamming Wikipedia for Profit" was awarded best paper at CEAS, and "What Wikipedia Deletes: Characterizing Dangerous Collaborative Content" was featured by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

More broadly, my research interests include Web 2.0 and network security, applied machine learning, electronic anti-abuse, underground economies, trust and reputation management, spatio-temporal metadata, Internet measurement, research ethics, and technical writing.


In the interest of brevity, this list contains only recent and prominent writings. My C.V. enumerates all writings, for which full texts are available on my SelectedWorks profile. All downloadable texts are author's versions, with the authoritative copy belonging to the cited venue/journal:

West, A.G., and Mohaisen, A. (2014). Metadata-driven Threat Classification of Network Endpoints Appearing in Malware. In DIMVA '14: Proceedings of the 11th Conference on Detection of Intrusions and Malware & Vulnerability Assessment, LNCS 8550 (S. Dietrich ed.), pp. 152-171. Egham, UK. [ABSTRACT + PDF | SLIDES]

West, A.G., and Aviv, A.J. (2014). On the Privacy Concerns of URL Query Strings. In W2SP '14: Proceedings of the 8th Workshop on Web 2.0 Security and Privacy. San Jose, CA, USA. A journal extension: Measuring Privacy Disclosures in URL Query Strings will appear in IEEE Internet Computing. [CONF. PDF | CONF. SLIDES | JOURNAL PRE-PRINT]

West, A.G. (2013). Damage Detection and Mitigation in Open Collaboration Applications. PhD thesis, University of Pennsylvania. [ABSTRACT + PDF | SLIDES]

West, A.G., Hayati, P., Potdar, V., and Lee, I. (2012). Spamming for Science: Active Measurement in Web 2.0 Abuse Research. In WECSR '12: Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Ethics in Computer Security Research, LNCS 7398 (J. Blythe, S. Dietrich, and L.J. Camp eds.), pp. 98-111. Kralendijk, Bonaire. [ABSTRACT + PDF | SLIDES]

West, A.G., and Lee, I. (2011). What Wikipedia Deletes: Characterizing Dangerous Collaborative Content. In WikiSym '11: Proc. of the 7th Intl. Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration, pp. 25-28. Mountain View, CA, USA. [ABSTRACT + PDF | SLIDES]

West, A.G., Chang, J., Venkatasubramanian, K., Sokolsky, O., and Lee, I. (2011). Link Spamming Wikipedia for Profit. In CEAS '11: Proc. of the 8th Annual Collaboration, Electronic Messaging, Anti-Abuse, and Spam Conference, pp. 152-161. Perth, Australia. (co-Best Paper Award). [ABSTRACT + PDF | SLIDES]

Adler, B.T., de Alfaro, L., Mola-Velasco, S.M., Rosso, P., and West, A.G. (2011). Wikipedia Vandalism Detection: Combining Natural Language,Metadata, and Reputation Features. In CICLing '11: Proc. of the 12th Intl. Conference on Intelligent Text Processing and Computational Linguistics. LNCS 6609, pp. 277-288. Tokyo, Japan. [ABSTRACT + PDF]

West, A.G., Aviv, A.J., Chang, J., & Lee, I. (2010). Spam Mitigation using Spatio-Temporal Reputations from Blacklist History. In ACSAC '10: Proceedings of the 26th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference, pp. 161-170. Austin, Texas, USA. (Preliminarily published as UPENN-MS-CIS-10-04). [ABSTRACT + PDF | SLIDES]

West, A.G., Kannan, S., & Lee, I. (2010). Detecting Wikipedia Vandalism via Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Revision Metadata. In EUROSEC '10: Proceedings of the Third European Workshop on System Security, pp. 22-28. Paris, France. (A preliminary version was published as UPENN-MS-CIS-10-05). [ABSTRACT + PDF | SLIDES]

Software & Datasets

STiki (Spatio-Temporal analysis over Wikipedia): A Wikipedia anti-vandalism tool consisting of a back-end engine for real-time revision processing and a user-facing GUI which presents probable-vandalism to users. An extension to this software includes the code/analysis necessary to detect link spam edits. Software. [WEBSITE]

WikiAudit: Heuristics to detect unconstructive wiki changes from a provided set of IPs; useful for network admins and investigations into editor bias. Software. [WEBSITE]

Reputation Management Simulator: A framework to evaluate reputation algorithm performance. Software. Last updated: 2009/10/25. [ZIP | DIAGRAM-PNG]

Personal Details

On a purely personal level, I have three fanatical interests in life:

[1] West Virginia University Athletics: I was born and raised in WV.
[2] Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Thirty years on and still rockin' hard.
[3] Maxwell [1, 2, 3]: Best friend and extremely intimidating 7-pound chihuahua.

Contact Information

Andrew G. West
Verisign Headquarters, 6272
12061 Bluemont Way
Reston, VA 20190

email: awest {at, @} verisign [dot] com (business)
email: west [dot] andrew [dot] g {at, @} gmail [dot] com (personal)