Visible to the public Biblio

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Ben Blum.  2012.  Landslide: Systematic Exploration for Kernel-Space Race Detection. School of Computer Science. MS:88.

Systematic exploration is an approach to finding race conditions by deterministically executing every possible interleaving of thread transitions and identifying which ones expose bugs. Current systematic exploration techniques are suitable for testing user-space programs, but are inadequate for testing kernels, where the testing framework’s control over concurrency is more complicated. We present Landslide, a systematic exploration tool for finding races in kernels. Landslide targets Pebbles, the kernel specification that students implement in the undergraduate Operating Systems course at Carnegie Mellon University (15- 410). We discuss the techniques Landslide uses to address the general challenges of kernel-level concurrency, and we evaluate its effectiveness and usability as a debugging aid. We show that our techniques make systematic testing in kernel-space feasible and that Landslide is a useful tool for doing so in the context of 15-410.

Bernardo Toninho, Luis Caires, Frank Pfenning.  2013.  Higher-Order Processes, Functions, and Sessions: A monadic integration. ESOP'13 Proceedings of the 22nd European conference on Programming Languages and Systems. :350-369.

In prior research we have developed a Curry-Howard interpretation of linear sequent calculus as session-typed processes. In this paper we uniformly integrate this computational interpretation in a functional language via a linear contextual monad that isolates session-based concurrency. Monadic values are open process expressions and are first class objects in the language, thus providing a logical foundation for higher-order session typed processes. We illustrate how the combined use of the monad and recursive types allows us to cleanly write a rich variety of concurrent programs, including higher-order programs that communicate processes. We show the standard metatheoretic result of type preservation, as well as a global progress theorem, which to the best of our knowledge, is new in the higher-order session typed setting.

Bernardo Toninho, Luis Caires, Frank Pfenning.  2013.  Inductive and Coinductive Session Types in Higher-Order Concurrent Programs.

We develop a theory of inductive and coinductive session types in a computational interpretation of linear logic, enabling the representation of potentially infinite interactions in a compositionally sound way that preserves logical soundness, a major stepping stone towards a full dependent type theory for expressing and reasoning about session-based concurrent higher order distributed programs. The language consists of a λ-calculus with inductive types and a contextual monadic type encapsulating session-based concurrency, treating monadic values as first-class objects. We consider general fixpoint and cofixpoint constructs, subject to natural syntactic constraints, as a means of producing inductive and coinductive definitions of session-typed processes, that until now have only been considered using general recursion, which is incompatible with logical consistency and introduces compositional divergence. We establish a type safety result for our language, including protocol compliance and progress of concurrent computation, and also show, through a logical relations argument, that all well-typed programs are compositionally non-divergent. Our results entail the logical soundness of the framework, and enable compositional reasoning about useful infinite interactive behaviors, while ruling out unproductive infinite behavior.

Blase Ur, Patrick Gage Kelley, Saranga Komanduri, Joel Lee, Michael Maass, Michelle L. Mazurek, Timothy Passaro, Richard Shay, Timothy Vidas, Lujo Bauer et al..  2012.  How Does Your Password Measure Up? The Effect of Strength Meters on Password Creation 21st USENIX Security Symposium.

To help users create stronger text-based passwords, many web sites have deployed password meters that provide visual feedback on password strength. Although these meters are in wide use, their effects on the security and usability of passwords have not been well studied. We present a 2,931-subject study of password creation in the presence of 14 password meters. We found that meters with a variety of visual appearances led users to create longer passwords. However, significant increases in resistance to a password-cracking algorithm were only achieved using meters that scored passwords stringently. These stringent meters also led participants to include more digits, symbols, and uppercase letters. Password meters also affected the act of password creation. Participants who saw stringent meters spent longer creating their password and were more likely to change their password while entering it, yet they were also more likely to find the password meter annoying. However, the most stringent meter and those without visual bars caused participants to place less importance on satisfying the meter. Participants who saw more lenient meters tried to fill the meter and were averse to choosing passwords a meter deemed “bad” or “poor.” Our findings can serve as guidelines for administrators seeking to nudge users towards stronger passwords. 

Bradley Schmerl, Jeff Gennari, David Garlan.  2015.  An Architecture Style for Android Security Analysis. HotSoS '15 Proceedings of the 2015 Symposium and Bootcamp on the Science of Security.

Modern frameworks are required to be extendable as well as secure. However, these two qualities are often at odds. In this poster we describe an approach that uses a combination of static analysis and run-time management, based on software architecture models, that can improve security while maintaining framework extendability.

Bradley Schmerl, Jeffrey Gennari, Javier Camara, David Garlan.  2016.  Raindroid - A System for Run-time Mitigation of Android Intent Vulnerabilities. HotSos '16 Proceedings of the Symposium and Bootcamp on the Science of Security.

Modern frameworks are required to be extendable as well as secure. However, these two qualities are often at odds. In this poster we describe an approach that uses a combination of static analysis and run-time management, based on software architecture models, that can improve security while maintaining framework extendability. We implement a prototype of the approach for the Android platform. Static analysis identifies the architecture and communication patterns among the collection of apps on an Android device and which communications might be vulnerable to attack. Run-time mechanisms monitor these potentially vulnerable communication patterns, and adapt the system to either deny them, request explicit approval from the user, or allow them.

Bradley Schmerl, Javier Camara, Jeffrey Gennari, David Garlan, Paulo Casanova, Gabriel Moreno, Thomas Glazier, Jeffrey Barnes.  2014.  Architecture-Based Self-Protection: Composing and Reasoning about Denial-of-Service Mitigations. HotSoS '14 Proceedings of the 2014 Symposium and Bootcamp on the Science of Security.

Security features are often hardwired into software applications, making it difficult to adapt security responses to reflect changes in runtime context and new attacks. In prior work, we proposed the idea of architecture-based self-protection as a way of separating adaptation logic from application logic and providing a global perspective for reasoning about security adaptations in the context of other business goals. In this paper, we present an approach, based on this idea, for combating denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. Our approach allows DoS-related tactics to be composed into more sophisticated mitigation strategies that encapsulate possible responses to a security problem. Then, utility-based reasoning can be used to consider different business contexts and qualities. We describe how this approach forms the underpinnings of a scientific approach to self-protection, allowing us to reason about how to make the best choice of mitigation at runtime. Moreover, we also show how formal analysis can be used to determine whether the mitigations cover the range of conditions the system is likely to encounter, and the effect of mitigations on other quality attributes of the system. We evaluate the approach using the Rainbow self-adaptive framework and show how Rainbow chooses DoS mitigation tactics that are sensitive to different business contexts.

Bradley Schmerl, Jeffrey Gennari, Alireza Sadeghi, Hamid Bagheri, Sam Malek, Javier Camara, David Garlan.  2016.  Architecture Modeling and Analysis of Security in Android Systems. 10th European Conference on Software Architecture (ECSA 2016).

Software architecture modeling is important for analyzing system quality attributes, particularly security. However, such analyses often assume that the architecture is completely known in advance. In many modern domains, especially those that use plugin-based frameworks, it is not possible to have such a complete model because the software system continuously changes. The Android mobile operating system is one such framework, where users can install and uninstall apps at run time. We need ways to model and analyze such architectures that strike a balance between supporting the dynamism of the underlying platforms and enabling analysis, particularly throughout a system’s lifetime. In this paper, we describe a formal architecture style that captures the modifiable architectures of Android systems, and that supports security analysis as a system evolves. We illustrate the use of the style with two security analyses: a predicatebased approach defined over architectural structure that can detect some common security vulnerabilities, and inter-app permission leakage determined by model checking. We also show how the evolving architecture of an Android device can be obtained by analysis of the apps on a device, and provide some performance evaluation that indicates that the architecture can be amenable for use throughout the system’s lifetime. 

Breaux, Travis, Hibshi, Hanan, Rao, Ashwini, Lehker, Jean-Michel.  2012.  Towards a Framework for Pattern Experimentation: Understanding empirical validity in requirements engineering patterns. IEEE 2nd Workshop on Requirements Engineering Patterns (RePa'12).

Despite the abundance of information security guidelines, system developers have difficulties implementing technical solutions that are reasonably secure. Security patterns are one possible solution to help developers reuse security knowledge. The challenge is that it takes experts to develop security patterns. To address this challenge, we need a framework to identify and assess patterns and pattern application practices that are accessible to non-experts. In this paper, we narrowly define what we mean by patterns by focusing on requirements patterns and the considerations that may inform how we identify and validate patterns for knowledge reuse. We motivate this discussion using examples from the requirements pattern literature and theory in cognitive psychology.

Burcham, Morgan, Al-Zyoud, Mahran, Carver, Jeffrey C., Alsaleh, Mohammed, Du, Hongying, Gilani, Fida, Jiang, Jun, Rahman, Akond, Kafalı, Özgür, Al-Shaer, Ehab et al..  2017.  Characterizing Scientific Reporting in Security Literature: An Analysis of ACM CCS and IEEE S&P Papers. Proceedings of the Hot Topics in Science of Security: Symposium and Bootcamp. :13–23.

Scientific advancement is fueled by solid fundamental research, followed by replication, meta-analysis, and theory building. To support such advancement, researchers and government agencies have been working towards a "science of security". As in other sciences, security science requires high-quality fundamental research addressing important problems and reporting approaches that capture the information necessary for replication, meta-analysis, and theory building. The goal of this paper is to aid security researchers in establishing a baseline of the state of scientific reporting in security through an analysis of indicators of scientific research as reported in top security conferences, specifically the 2015 ACM CCS and 2016 IEEE S&P proceedings. To conduct this analysis, we employed a series of rubrics to analyze the completeness of information reported in papers relative to the type of evaluation used (e.g. empirical study, proof, discussion). Our findings indicated some important information is often missing from papers, including explicit documentation of research objectives and the threats to validity. Our findings show a relatively small number of replications reported in the literature. We hope that this initial analysis will serve as a baseline against which we can measure the advancement of the science of security.