Visible to the public Biblio

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Hemank Lamba, Thomas J. Glazier, Javier Camara, Bradley Schmerl, David Garlan, Jurgen Pfeffer.  2017.  Model-based Cluster Analysis for Identifying Suspicious Activity Sequences in Software. IWSPA '17 Proceedings of the 3rd ACM on International Workshop on Security And Privacy Analytics.

Large software systems have to contend with a significant number of users who interact with different components of the system in various ways. The sequences of components that are used as part of an interaction define sets of behaviors that users have with the system. These can be large in number. Among these users, it is possible that there are some who exhibit anomalous behaviors -- for example, they may have found back doors into the system and are doing something malicious. These anomalous behaviors can be hard to distinguish from normal behavior because of the number of interactions a system may have, or because traces may deviate only slightly from normal behavior. In this paper we describe a model-based approach to cluster sequences of user behaviors within a system and to find suspicious, or anomalous, sequences. We exploit the underlying software architecture of a system to define these sequences. We further show that our approach is better at detecting suspicious activities than other approaches, specifically those that use unigrams and bigrams for anomaly detection. We show this on a simulation of a large scale system based on Amazon Web application style architecture.

Hemank Lamba, Thomas J. Glazier, Bradley Schmerl, Javier Camara, David Garlan, Jurgen Pfeffer.  2016.  A Model-based Approach to Anomaly Detection in Software Architectures. Symposium and Bootcamp on the Science of Security (HotSoS).

In an organization, the interactions users have with software leave patterns or traces of the parts of the systems accessed. These interactions can be associated with the underlying software architecture. The first step in detecting problems like insider threat is to detect those traces that are anomalous. Here, we propose a method to find anomalous users leveraging these interaction traces, categorized by user roles. We propose a model based approach to cluster user sequences and find outliers. We show that the approach works on a simulation of a large scale system based on and Amazon Web application style.

Hemank Lamba, Thomas Glazier, Bradley Schmerl, Jurgen Pfeffer, David Garlan.  2015.  Detecting Insider Threats in Software Systems using Graph Models of Behavioral Paths. HotSoS '15 Proceedings of the 2015 Symposium and Bootcamp on the Science of Security.

Insider threats are a well-known problem, and previous studies have shown that it has a huge impact over a wide range of sectors like financial services, governments, critical infrastructure services and the telecommunications sector. Users, while interacting with any software system, leave a trace of what nodes they accessed and in what sequence. We propose to translate these sequences of observed activities into paths on the graph of the underlying software architectural model. We propose a clustering algorithm to find anomalies in the data, which can be combined with contextual information to confirm as an insider threat.