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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.

Thomas Glazier, Javier Camara, Bradley Schmerl, David Garlan.  2015.  Analyzing Resilience Properties of Different Topologies of Collective Adaptive Systems. Proceedings of the 3rd FoCAS Workshop on the Fundamentals of Collective Adaptive Systems.

Modern software systems are often compositions of entities that increasingly use self-adaptive capabilities to improve their behavior to achieve systemic quality goals. Self adaptive managers for each component system attempt to provide locally optimal results, but if they cooperated and potentially coordinated their efforts it might be possible to obtain more globally optimal results. The emergent properties that result from such composition and cooperation of self-adaptive systems are not well understood, difficult to reason about, and present a key challenge in the evolution of modern software systems. For example, the effects of coordination patterns and protocols on emergent properties, such as the resiliency of the collectives, need to be understood when designing these systems. In this paper we propose that probabilistic model checking of stochastic multiplayer games (SMG) provides a promising approach to analyze, understand, and reason about emergent properties in collectives of adaptive systems (CAS). Probabilistic Model Checking of SMGs is a technique particularly suited to analyzing emergent properties in CAS since SMG models capture: (i) the uncertainty and variability intrinsic to a CAS and its execution environment in the form of probabilistic and nondeterministic choices, and (ii) the competitive/cooperative aspects of the interplay among the constituent systems of the CAS. Analysis of SMGs allows us to reason about things like the worst case scenarios, which constitutes a new contribution to understanding emergent properties in CAS. We investigate the use of SMGs to show how they can be useful in analyzing the impact of communication topology for collections of fully cooperative systems defending against an external attack.

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.