Cloud computing is known as a new and powerful computing paradigm. This new generation of network computing model delivers both software and hardware as on-demand resources and various services over the Internet. However, the security concerns prevent users from adopting the cloud-based solutions to fulfill the IT requirement for many business critical computing. Due to the resource-sharing and multi-tenant nature of cloud-based solutions, cloud security is especially the most concern in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). It has been attracting a lot of research and development effort in the past few years.
Virtualization is the main technology of cloud computing to enable multi-tenancy.
Computing power, storage, and network are all virtualizable to be shared in an IaaS system. This important technology makes abstract infrastructure and resources available to users as isolated virtual machines (VMs) and virtual networks (VNs). However, it also increases vulnerabilities and possible attack surfaces in the system, since all users in a cloud share these resources with others or even the attackers. The promising protection mechanism is required to ensure strong isolation, mediated sharing, and secure communications between VMs. Technologies for detecting anomalous traffic and protecting normal traffic in VNs are also needed. Therefore, how to secure and protect the private traffic in VNs and how to prevent the malicious traffic from shared resources are major security research challenges in a cloud system.
This dissertation proposes four novel frameworks to address challenges mentioned above. The first work is a new multi-phase distributed vulnerability, measurement, and countermeasure selection mechanism based on the attack graph analytical model. The second work is a hybrid intrusion detection and prevention system to protect VN and VM using virtual machines introspection (VMI) and software defined networking (SDN) technologies. The third work further improves the previous works by introducing a VM profiler and VM Security Index (VSI) to keep track the security status of each VM and suggest the optimal countermeasure to mitigate potential threats. The final work is a SDN-based proactive defense mechanism for a cloud system using a reconfiguration model and moving target defense approaches to actively and dynamically change the virtual network configuration of a cloud system.