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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.

Javier Camara, Gabriel Moreno, David Garlan.  2015.  Reasoning about Human Participation in Self-Adaptive Systems. SEAMS '15 Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Software Engineering for Adaptive and Self-Managing Systems.

Self-adaptive systems overcome many of the limitations of human supervision in complex software-intensive systems by endowing them with the ability to automatically adapt their structure and behavior in the presence of runtime changes. However, adaptation in some classes of systems (e.g., safety-critical) can benefit by receiving information from humans (e.g., acting as sophisticated sensors, decision-makers), or by involving them as system-level effectors to execute adaptations (e.g., when automation is not possible, or as a fallback mechanism). However, human participants are influenced by factors external to the system (e.g., training level, fatigue) that affect the likelihood of success when they perform a task, its duration, or even if they are willing to perform it in the first place. Without careful consideration of these factors, it is unclear how to decide when to involve humans in adaptation, and in which way. In this paper, we investigate how the explicit modeling of human participants can provide a better insight into the trade-offs of involving humans in adaptation. We contribute a formal framework to reason about human involvement in self-adaptation, focusing on the role of human participants as actors (i.e., effectors) during the execution stage of adaptation. The approach consists of: (i) a language to express adaptation models that capture factors affecting human behavior and its interactions with the system, and (ii) a formalization of these adaptation models as stochastic multiplayer games (SMGs) that can be used to analyze human-system-environment interactions. We illustrate our approach in an adaptive industrial middleware used to monitor and manage sensor networks in renewable energy production plants.

Javier Camara, Antonia Lopes, David Garlan, Bradley Schmerl.  2014.  Impact Models for Architecture-Based Self-Adaptive Systems.

Self-adaptive systems have the ability to adapt their behavior to dynamic operation conditions. In reaction to changes in the environment, these systems determine the appropriate corrective actions based in part on information about which action will have the best impact on the system. Existing models used to describe the impact of adaptations are either unable to capture the underlying uncertainty and variability of such dynamic environments, or are not compositional and described at a level of abstraction too low to scale in terms of specification effort required for non-trivial systems. In this paper, we address these shortcomings by describing an approach to the specification of impact models based on architectural system descriptions, which at the same time allows us to represent both variability and uncertainty in the outcome of adaptations, hence improving the selection of the best corrective action. The core of our approach is an impact model language equipped with a formal semantics defined in terms of Discrete Time Markov Chains. To validate our approach, we show how employing our language can improve the accuracy of predictions used for decisionmaking in the Rainbow framework for architecture-based self-adaptation. 

Javier Camara, David Garlan, Gabriel Moreno, Bradley Schmerl.  2016.  Evaluating Trade-offs of Human Involvement in Self-adaptive Systems. Managing Trade-offs in Adaptable Software Architectures.

Software systems are increasingly called upon to autonomously manage their goals in changing contexts and environments, and under evolving requirements. In some circumstances, autonomous systems cannot be fully-automated but instead cooperate with human operators to maintain and adapt themselves. Furthermore, there are times when a choice should be made between doing a manual or automated repair. Involving operators in self-adaptation should itself be adaptive, and consider aspects such as the training, attention, and ability of operators. Not only do these aspects change from person to person, but they may change with the same person. These aspects make the choice of whether to involve humans non-obvious. Self-adaptive systems should trade-off whether to involve operators, taking these aspects into consideration along with other business qualities it is attempting to achieve. In this chapter, we identify the various roles that operators can perform in cooperating with self-adapting systems. We focus on humans as effectors-doing tasks which are difficult or infeasible to automate. We describe how we modified our self-adaptive framework, Rainbow, to involve operators in this way, which involved choosing suitable human models and integrating them into the existing utility trade-off decision models of Rainbow. We use probabilistic modeling and quantitative verification to analyze the trade-offs of involving humans in adaptation, and complement our study with experiments to show how different business preferences and modalities of human involvement may result in different outcomes.

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 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.

Gabriel Moreno, Javier Camara, David Garlan, Bradley Schmerl.  2015.  Proactive Self-Adaptation under Uncertainty: a Probabilistic Model Checking Approach. ESEC/FSE 2015 Proceedings of the 2015 10th Joint Meeting on Foundations of Software Engineering.

Self-adaptive systems tend to be reactive and myopic, adapting in response to changes without anticipating what the subsequent adaptation needs will be. Adapting reactively can result in inefficiencies due to the system performing a suboptimal sequence of adaptations. Furthermore, when adaptations have latency, and take some time to produce their effect, they have to be started with sufficient lead time so that they complete by the time their effect is needed. Proactive latency-aware adaptation addresses these issues by making adaptation decisions with a look-ahead horizon and taking adaptation latency into account. In this paper we present an approach for proactive latency-aware adaptation under uncertainty that uses probabilistic model checking for adaptation decisions. The key idea is to use a formal model of the adaptive system in which the adaptation decision is left underspecified through nondeterminism, and have the model checker resolve the nondeterministic choices so that the accumulated utility over the horizon is maximized. The adaptation decision is optimal over the horizon, and takes into account the inherent uncertainty of the environment predictions needed for looking ahead. Our results show that the decision based on a look-ahead horizon, and the factoring of both tactic latency and environment uncertainty, considerably improve the effectiveness of adaptation decisions.

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.