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Determining the integrity of applications and operating systems using remote and local attesters

Description

This research describes software based remote attestation schemes for obtaining the integrity of an executing user application and the Operating System (OS) text section of an untrusted client platform. A trusted external entity issues a challenge to the client platform.

This research describes software based remote attestation schemes for obtaining the integrity of an executing user application and the Operating System (OS) text section of an untrusted client platform. A trusted external entity issues a challenge to the client platform. The challenge is executable code which the client must execute, and the code generates results which are sent to the external entity. These results provide the external entity an assurance as to whether the client application and the OS are in pristine condition. This work also presents a technique where it can be verified that the application which was attested, did not get replaced by a different application after completion of the attestation. The implementation of these three techniques was achieved entirely in software and is backward compatible with legacy machines on the Intel x86 architecture. This research also presents two approaches to incorporating software based "root of trust" using Virtual Machine Monitors (VMMs). The first approach determines the integrity of an executing Guest OS from the Host OS using Linux Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) and qemu emulation software. The second approach implements a small VMM called MIvmm that can be utilized as a trusted codebase to build security applications such as those implemented in this research. MIvmm was conceptualized and implemented without using any existing codebase; its minimal size allows it to be trustworthy. Both the VMM approaches leverage processor support for virtualization in the Intel x86 architecture.

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2011

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On efficient and scalable attribute based security systems

Description

This dissertation is focused on building scalable Attribute Based Security Systems (ABSS), including efficient and privacy-preserving attribute based encryption schemes and applications to group communications and cloud computing. First of all, a Constant Ciphertext Policy Attribute Based Encryption (CCP-ABE) is

This dissertation is focused on building scalable Attribute Based Security Systems (ABSS), including efficient and privacy-preserving attribute based encryption schemes and applications to group communications and cloud computing. First of all, a Constant Ciphertext Policy Attribute Based Encryption (CCP-ABE) is proposed. Existing Attribute Based Encryption (ABE) schemes usually incur large, linearly increasing ciphertext. The proposed CCP-ABE dramatically reduces the ciphertext to small, constant size. This is the first existing ABE scheme that achieves constant ciphertext size. Also, the proposed CCP-ABE scheme is fully collusion-resistant such that users can not combine their attributes to elevate their decryption capacity. Next step, efficient ABE schemes are applied to construct optimal group communication schemes and broadcast encryption schemes. An attribute based Optimal Group Key (OGK) management scheme that attains communication-storage optimality without collusion vulnerability is presented. Then, a novel broadcast encryption model: Attribute Based Broadcast Encryption (ABBE) is introduced, which exploits the many-to-many nature of attributes to dramatically reduce the storage complexity from linear to logarithm and enable expressive attribute based access policies. The privacy issues are also considered and addressed in ABSS. Firstly, a hidden policy based ABE schemes is proposed to protect receivers' privacy by hiding the access policy. Secondly,a new concept: Gradual Identity Exposure (GIE) is introduced to address the restrictions of hidden policy based ABE schemes. GIE's approach is to reveal the receivers' information gradually by allowing ciphertext recipients to decrypt the message using their possessed attributes one-by-one. If the receiver does not possess one attribute in this procedure, the rest of attributes are still hidden. Compared to hidden-policy based solutions, GIE provides significant performance improvement in terms of reducing both computation and communication overhead. Last but not least, ABSS are incorporated into the mobile cloud computing scenarios. In the proposed secure mobile cloud data management framework, the light weight mobile devices can securely outsource expensive ABE operations and data storage to untrusted cloud service providers. The reported scheme includes two components: (1) a Cloud-Assisted Attribute-Based Encryption/Decryption (CA-ABE) scheme and (2) An Attribute-Based Data Storage (ABDS) scheme that achieves information theoretical optimality.

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2011

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Confidentiality protection of user data and adaptive resource allocation for managing multiple workflow performance in service-based systems

Description

In this dissertation, two interrelated problems of service-based systems (SBS) are addressed: protecting users' data confidentiality from service providers, and managing performance of multiple workflows in SBS. Current SBSs pose serious limitations to protecting users' data confidentiality. Since users' sensitive

In this dissertation, two interrelated problems of service-based systems (SBS) are addressed: protecting users' data confidentiality from service providers, and managing performance of multiple workflows in SBS. Current SBSs pose serious limitations to protecting users' data confidentiality. Since users' sensitive data is sent in unencrypted forms to remote machines owned and operated by third-party service providers, there are risks of unauthorized use of the users' sensitive data by service providers. Although there are many techniques for protecting users' data from outside attackers, currently there is no effective way to protect users' sensitive data from service providers. In this dissertation, an approach is presented to protecting the confidentiality of users' data from service providers, and ensuring that service providers cannot collect users' confidential data while the data is processed or stored in cloud computing systems. The approach has four major features: (1) separation of software service providers and infrastructure service providers, (2) hiding the information of the owners of data, (3) data obfuscation, and (4) software module decomposition and distributed execution. Since the approach to protecting users' data confidentiality includes software module decomposition and distributed execution, it is very important to effectively allocate the resource of servers in SBS to each of the software module to manage the overall performance of workflows in SBS. An approach is presented to resource allocation for SBS to adaptively allocating the system resources of servers to their software modules in runtime in order to satisfy the performance requirements of multiple workflows in SBS. Experimental results show that the dynamic resource allocation approach can substantially increase the throughput of a SBS and the optimal resource allocation can be found in polynomial time

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2012

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SDN-based proactive defense mechanism in a cloud system

Description

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

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.

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2015

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Cooperative multi-channel MAC protocols for wireless ad hoc networks

Description

Today, many wireless networks are single-channel systems. However, as the interest in wireless services increases, the contention by nodes to occupy the medium is more intense and interference worsens. One direction with the potential to increase system throughput is multi-channel

Today, many wireless networks are single-channel systems. However, as the interest in wireless services increases, the contention by nodes to occupy the medium is more intense and interference worsens. One direction with the potential to increase system throughput is multi-channel systems. Multi-channel systems have been shown to reduce collisions and increase concurrency thus producing better bandwidth usage. However, the well-known hidden- and exposed-terminal problems inherited from single-channel systems remain, and a new channel selection problem is introduced. In this dissertation, Multi-channel medium access control (MAC) protocols are proposed for mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs) for nodes equipped with a single half-duplex transceiver, using more sophisticated physical layer technologies. These include code division multiple access (CDMA), orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA), and diversity. CDMA increases channel reuse, while OFDMA enables communication by multiple users in parallel. There is a challenge to using each technology in MANETs, where there is no fixed infrastructure or centralized control. CDMA suffers from the near-far problem, while OFDMA requires channel synchronization to decode the signal. As a result CDMA and OFDMA are not yet widely used. Cooperative (diversity) mechanisms provide vital information to facilitate communication set-up between source-destination node pairs and help overcome limitations of physical layer technologies in MANETs. In this dissertation, the Cooperative CDMA-based Multi-channel MAC (CCM-MAC) protocol uses CDMA to enable concurrent transmissions on each channel. The Power-controlled CDMA-based Multi-channel MAC (PCC-MAC) protocol uses transmission power control at each node and mitigates collisions of control packets on the control channel by using different sizes of the spreading factor to have different processing gains for the control signals. The Cooperative Dual-access Multi-channel MAC (CDM-MAC) protocol combines the use of OFDMA and CDMA and minimizes channel interference by a resolvable balanced incomplete block design (BIBD). In each protocol, cooperating nodes help reduce the incidence of the multi-channel hidden- and exposed-terminal and help address the near-far problem of CDMA by supplying information. Simulation results show that each of the proposed protocols achieve significantly better system performance when compared to IEEE 802.11, other multi-channel protocols, and another protocol CDMA-based.

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2010

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A co-design modeling methodology for simulation of service oriented computing systems

Description

The adoption of the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) as the foundation for developing a new generation of software systems - known as Service Based Software Systems (SBS), poses new challenges in system design. While simulation as a methodology serves a

The adoption of the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) as the foundation for developing a new generation of software systems - known as Service Based Software Systems (SBS), poses new challenges in system design. While simulation as a methodology serves a principal role in design, there is a growing recognition that simulation of SBS requires modeling capabilities beyond those that are developed for the traditional distributed software systems. In particular, while different component-based modeling approaches may lend themselves to simulating the logical process flows in Service Oriented Computing (SOC) systems, they are inadequate in terms of supporting SOA-compliant modeling. Furthermore, composite services must satisfy multiple QoS attributes under constrained service reconfigurations and hardware resources. A key desired capability, therefore, is to model and simulate not only the services consistent with SOA concepts and principles, but also the hardware and network components on which services must execute on. In this dissertation, SOC-DEVS - a novel co-design modeling methodology that enables simulation of software and hardware aspects of SBS for early architectural design evaluation is developed. A set of abstractions representing important service characteristics and service relationships are modeled. The proposed software/hardware co-design simulation capability is introduced into the DEVS-Suite simulator. Exemplar simulation models of a communication intensive Voice Communication System and a computation intensive Encryption System are developed and then validated using data from an existing real system. The applicability of the SOC-DEVS methodology is demonstrated in a simulation testbed aimed at facilitating the design & development of SBS. Furthermore, the simulation testbed is extended by integrating an existing prototype monitoring and adaptation system with the simulator to support basic experimentation towards design & development of Adaptive SBS.

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2011

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Establishing the software-defined networking based defensive system in clouds

Description

Cloud computing is regarded as one of the most revolutionary technologies in the past decades. It provides scalable, flexible and secure resource provisioning services, which is also the reason why users prefer to migrate their locally processing workloads onto

Cloud computing is regarded as one of the most revolutionary technologies in the past decades. It provides scalable, flexible and secure resource provisioning services, which is also the reason why users prefer to migrate their locally processing workloads onto remote clouds. Besides commercial cloud system (i.e., Amazon EC2), ProtoGENI and PlanetLab have further improved the current Internet-based resource provisioning system by allowing end users to construct a virtual networking environment. By archiving the similar goal but with more flexible and efficient performance, I present the design and implementation of MobiCloud that is a geo-distributed mobile cloud computing platform, and G-PLaNE that focuses on how to construct the virtual networking environment upon the self-designed resource provisioning system consisting of multiple geo-distributed clusters. Furthermore, I conduct a comprehensive study to layout existing Mobile Cloud Computing (MCC) service models and corresponding representative related work. A new user-centric mobile cloud computing service model is proposed to advance the existing mobile cloud computing research.

After building the MobiCloud, G-PLaNE and studying the MCC model, I have been using Software Defined Networking (SDN) approaches to enhance the system security in the cloud virtual networking environment. I present an OpenFlow based IPS solution called SDNIPS that includes a new IPS architecture based on Open vSwitch (OVS) in the cloud software-based networking environment. It is enabled with elasticity service provisioning and Network Reconfiguration (NR) features based on POX controller. Finally, SDNIPS demonstrates the feasibility and shows more efficiency than traditional approaches through a thorough evaluation.

At last, I propose an OpenFlow-based defensive module composition framework called CloudArmour that is able to perform query, aggregation, analysis, and control function over distributed OpenFlow-enabled devices. I propose several modules and use the DDoS attack as an example to illustrate how to composite the comprehensive defensive solution based on CloudArmour framework. I introduce total 20 Python-based CloudArmour APIs. Finally, evaluation results prove the feasibility and efficiency of CloudArmour framework.

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2014

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Discovering and using patterns for countering security challenges

Description

Most existing security decisions for both defending and attacking are made based on some deterministic approaches that only give binary answers. Even though these approaches can achieve low false positive rate for decision making, they have high false negative rates

Most existing security decisions for both defending and attacking are made based on some deterministic approaches that only give binary answers. Even though these approaches can achieve low false positive rate for decision making, they have high false negative rates due to the lack of accommodations to new attack methods and defense techniques. In this dissertation, I study how to discover and use patterns with uncertainty and randomness to counter security challenges. By extracting and modeling patterns in security events, I am able to handle previously unknown security events with quantified confidence, rather than simply making binary decisions. In particular, I cope with the following four real-world security challenges by modeling and analyzing with pattern-based approaches: 1) How to detect and attribute previously unknown shellcode? I propose instruction sequence abstraction that extracts coarse-grained patterns from an instruction sequence and use Markov chain-based model and support vector machines to detect and attribute shellcode; 2) How to safely mitigate routing attacks in mobile ad hoc networks? I identify routing table change patterns caused by attacks, propose an extended Dempster-Shafer theory to measure the risk of such changes, and use a risk-aware response mechanism to mitigate routing attacks; 3) How to model, understand, and guess human-chosen picture passwords? I analyze collected human-chosen picture passwords, propose selection function that models patterns in password selection, and design two algorithms to optimize password guessing paths; and 4) How to identify influential figures and events in underground social networks? I analyze collected underground social network data, identify user interaction patterns, and propose a suite of measures for systematically discovering and mining adversarial evidence. By solving these four problems, I demonstrate that discovering and using patterns could help deal with challenges in computer security, network security, human-computer interaction security, and social network security.

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2014

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Anonymity protection and access control in mobile network environment

Description

Wireless communication technologies have been playing an important role in modern society. Due to its inherent mobility property, wireless networks are more vulnerable to passive attacks than traditional wired networks. Anonymity, as an important issue in mobile network environment, serves

Wireless communication technologies have been playing an important role in modern society. Due to its inherent mobility property, wireless networks are more vulnerable to passive attacks than traditional wired networks. Anonymity, as an important issue in mobile network environment, serves as the first topic that leads to all the research work presented in this manuscript. Specifically, anonymity issue in Mobile Ad hoc Networks (MANETs) is discussed with details as the first section of research.

To thoroughly study on this topic, the presented work approaches it from an attacker's perspective. Under a perfect scenario, all the traffic in a targeted MANET exhibits the communication relations to a passive attacker. However, localization errors pose a significant influence on the accuracy of the derived communication patterns. To handle such issue, a new scheme is proposed to generate super nodes, which represent the activities of user groups in the target MANET. This scheme also helps reduce the scale of monitoring work by grouping users based on their behaviors.

The first part of work on anonymity in MANET leads to the thought on its major cause. The link-based communication pattern is a key contributor to the success of the traffic analysis attack. A natural way to circumvent such issue is to use link-less approaches. Information Centric Networking (ICN) is a typical instance of such kind. Its communication pattern is able to overcome the anonymity issue with MANET. However, it also comes with its own shortcomings. One of them is access control enforcement. To tackle this issue, a new naming scheme for contents transmitted in ICN networks is presented. This scheme is based on a new Attribute-Based Encryption (ABE) algorithm. It enforces access control in ICN with minimum requirements on additional network components.

Following the research work on ABE, an important function, delegation, exhibits a potential security issue. In traditional ABE schemes, Ciphertext-Policy ABE (CP-ABE), a user is able to generate a subset of authentic attribute key components for other users using delegation function. This capability is not monitored or controlled by the trusted third party (TTP) in the cryptosystem. A direct threat caused from this issue is that any user may intentionally or unintentionally lower the standards for attribute assignments. Unauthorized users/attackers may be able to obtain their desired attributes through a delegation party instead of directly from the TTP. As the third part of work presented in this manuscript, a three-level delegation restriction architecture is proposed. Furthermore, a delegation restriction scheme following this architecture is also presented. This scheme allows the TTP to have full control on the delegation function of all its direct users.

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2016

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From Understanding Telephone Scams to Implementing Authenticated Caller ID Transmission

Description

The telephone network is used by almost every person in the modern world. With the rise of Internet access to the PSTN, the telephone network today is rife with telephone spam and scams. Spam calls are significant annoyances for telephone

The telephone network is used by almost every person in the modern world. With the rise of Internet access to the PSTN, the telephone network today is rife with telephone spam and scams. Spam calls are significant annoyances for telephone users, unlike email spam, spam calls demand immediate attention. They are not only significant annoyances but also result in significant financial losses in the economy. According to complaint data from the FTC, complaints on illegal calls have made record numbers in recent years. Americans lose billions to fraud due to malicious telephone communication, despite various efforts to subdue telephone spam, scam, and robocalls.

In this dissertation, a study of what causes the users to fall victim to telephone scams is presented, and it demonstrates that impersonation is at the heart of the problem. Most solutions today primarily rely on gathering offending caller IDs, however, they do not work effectively when the caller ID has been spoofed. Due to a lack of authentication in the PSTN caller ID transmission scheme, fraudsters can manipulate the caller ID to impersonate a trusted entity and further a variety of scams. To provide a solution to this fundamental problem, a novel architecture and method to authenticate the transmission of the caller ID is proposed. The solution enables the possibility of a security indicator which can provide an early warning to help users stay vigilant against telephone impersonation scams, as well as provide a foundation for existing and future defenses to stop unwanted telephone communication based on the caller ID information.

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2017