Visible to the public Biblio

Filters: Keyword is Jan'17  [Clear All Filters]
Jonathan Aldrich, Alex Potanin.  2016.  Naturally Embedded DSLs. Systems, Programming, Languages and Applications: Software for Humanity (SPLASH) .

Domain-specific languages can be embedded in a variety of ways within a host language. The choice of embedding approach entails significant tradeoffs in the usability of the embedded DSL. We argue embedding DSLs \textit{naturally} within the host language results in the best experience for end users of the DSL. A \textit{naturally embedded DSL} is one that uses natural syntax, static semantics, and dynamic semantics for the DSL, all of which may differ from the host language. Furthermore, it must be possible to use DSLs together naturally - meaning that different DSLs cannot conflict, and the programmer can easily tell which code is written in which language.

Esther Wang, Jonathan Aldrich.  2016.  Capability Safe Reflection for the Wyvern Language. SPLASH 2016.

Reflection allows a program to examine and even modify itself, but its power can also lead to violations of encapsulation and even security vulnerabilities. The Wyvern language leverages static types for encapsulation and provides security through an object capability model. We present a design for reflection in Wyvern which respects capability safety and type-based encapsulation. This is accomplished through a mirror-based design, with the addition of a mechanism to constrain the visible type of a reflected object. In this way, we ensure that the programmer cannot use reflection to violate basic encapsulation and security guarantees.

Alireza Sadeghi, Hamid Bagheri, Joshua Garcia, Sam Malek.  2016.  A Taxonomy and Qualitative Comparison of Program Analysis Techniques for Security Assessment of Android Software. IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON SOFTWARE ENGINEERING. 99

In parallel with the meteoric rise of mobile software, we are witnessing an alarming escalation in the number and sophistication of the security threats targeted at mobile platforms, particularly Android, as the dominant platform. While existing research has made significant progress towards detection and mitigation of Android security, gaps and challenges remain. This paper contributes a comprehensive taxonomy to classify and characterize the state-of-the-art research in this area. We have carefully followed the systematic literature review process, and analyzed the results of more than 300 research papers, resulting in the most comprehensive and elaborate investigation of the literature in this area of research. The systematic analysis of the research literature has revealed patterns, trends, and gaps in

Jafar Al-Kofahi, Tien Nguyen, Christian Kästner.  2016.  Escaping AutoHell: a vision for automated analysis and migration of autotools build systems. RELENG 2016 Proceedings of the 4th International Workshop on Release Engineering.

GNU Autotools is a widely used build tool in the open source community. As open source projects grow more complex, maintaining their build systems becomes more challenging, due to the lack of tool support. In this paper, we propose a platform to build support tools for GNU Autotools build systems. The platform provides an abstraction of the build system to be used in different analysis techniques.

Lichao Sun, Zhiqiang Li, Qiben Yan, Witawas Srisa-an, Yu Pan.  2016.  SigPID: Significant Permission Identification for Android Malware Detection. 11th International Conference on Malicious and Unwanted Software (MALCON 2016).

A recent report indicates that a newly developed mali- cious app for Android is introduced every 11 seconds.  To combat this alarming rate of malware creation,  we need a scalable malware detection approach that is effective and efficient. In this paper, we introduce SIGPID, a malware detection system based on permission  analysis to cope with the rapid increase in the number of Android malware. In- stead of analyzing all 135 Android permissions, our ap- proach applies 3-level pruning by mining the permission data to identify only significant permissions that can be ef- fective in distinguishing benign and malicious apps. SIG- PID then utilizes classification algorithms to classify differ- ent families of malware and benign apps. Our evaluation finds that only 22 out of 135 permissions are significant. We then compare the performance of our approach, using only

22 permissions, against a baseline approach that analyzes all permissions. The results indicate that when Support Vec- tor Machine (SVM) is used as the classifier, we can achieve over 90% of precision, recall, accuracy, and F-measure, which  are about the same as those produced by the base- line approach while incurring the analysis times that are 4 to 32 times smaller that those of using all 135 permissions. When we compare the detection effectiveness of SIGPID to those of other approaches, SIGPID can detect 93.62% of malware in the data set, and 91.4% unknown malware.

Zhiqiang Li, Lichao Sun, Qiben Yan, Witawas Srisa-an, Zhenxiang Chen.  2016.  DroidClassifier: Efficient Adaptive Mining of Application-Layer Header for Classifying Android Malware. 12th EAI International Conference on Security and Privacy in Communication Networks.

A recent report has shown that there are more than 5,000 malicious applications created for Android devices each day. This creates a need for researchers to develop effective and efficient malware classification and detection approaches. To address this need, we introduce DroidClassifier: a systematic framework for classifying network traffic generated by mobile malware. Our approach utilizes network traffic analysis to construct multiple models in an automated fashion using a supervised method over a set of labeled malware network traffic (the training dataset). Each model is built by extracting common identifiers from multiple HTTP header fields. Adaptive thresholds are designed to capture the disparate characteristics of different malware families. Clustering is then used to improve the classification efficiency. Finally, we aggregate the multiple models to construct a holistic model to conduct cluster-level malware classification. We then perform a comprehensive evaluation of DroidClassifier by using 706 malware samples as the training set and 657 malware samples and 5,215 benign apps as the testing set. Collectively , these malicious and benign apps generate 17,949 network flows. The results show that DroidClassifier successfully identifies over 90% of different families of malware with more than 90% accuracy with accessible computational cost. Thus, DroidClassifier can facilitate network management in a large network, and enable unobtrusive detection of mobile malware. By focusing on analyzing network behaviors, we expect DroidClassifier to work with reasonable accuracy for other mobile platforms such as iOS and Windows Mobile as well.

Supat Rattanasuksun, Tingting Yu, Witawas Srisa-an, Gregg Rothermel.  2016.  RRF: A Race Reproduction Framework for Use in Debugging Process-Level Races. 27th International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering (ISSRE).

Process-level races are endemic in modern  systems. These races are difficult  to debug  because they are  sensitive to execution   events  such  as  interrupts and scheduling.  Unless  a process interleaving   that can result in the race can be found, it cannot be reproduced  and cannot be corrected. In practice, however,  the number of interleavings  that can occur among processes  in practice  is large,  and the patterns of interleavings can be complex. Thus, approaches for reproducing process-level races  to date are  often ineffective.  In  this paper, we present RRF, a race reproduction  framework that can help software engineers reproduce reported process-level races, enabling  them to potentially  debug these races. RRF performs a hybrid analysis by leveraging  existing  static program analysis tools, dynamic kernel event  reporting tools,  and yield points  to provide  the observability and controllability  needed to reproduce races. We conducted an empirical study to evaluate RRF; our results show that RRF can be effective for reproducing races.

Christopher Bogart, Christian Kästner, James Herbsleb, Ferdian Thung.  2016.  How to break an API: cost negotiation and community values in three software ecosystems. FSE 2016 Proceedings of the 2016 24th ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on Foundations of Software Engineering.

Change introduces conflict into software ecosystems: breaking changes may ripple through the ecosystem and trigger rework for users of a package, but often developers can invest additional effort or accept opportunity costs to alleviate or delay downstream costs. We performed a multiple case study of three software ecosystems with different tooling and philosophies toward change, Eclipse, R/CRAN, and Node.js/npm, to understand how developers make decisions about change and change-related costs and what practices, tooling, and policies are used. We found that all three ecosystems differ substantially in their practices and expectations toward change and that those differences can be explained largely by different community values in each ecosystem. Our results illustrate that there is a large design space in how to build an ecosystem, its policies and its supporting infrastructure; and there is value in making community values and accepted tradeoffs explicit and transparent in order to resolve conflicts and negotiate change-related costs

Hanan Hibshi, Travis Breaux, Christian Wagner.  2016.  Improving Security Requirements Adequacy An Interval Type 2 Fuzzy Logic Security Assessment System. 2016 IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence .

Organizations rely on security experts to improve the security of their systems. These professionals use background knowledge and experience to align known threats and vulnerabilities before selecting mitigation options. The substantial depth of expertise in any one area (e.g., databases, networks, operating systems) precludes the possibility that an expert would have complete knowledge about all threats and vulnerabilities. To begin addressing this problem of distributed knowledge, we investigate the challenge of developing a security requirements rule base that mimics human expert reasoning to enable new decision-support systems. In this paper, we show how to collect relevant information from cyber security experts to enable the generation of: (1) interval type-2 fuzzy sets that capture intra- and inter-expert uncertainty around vulnerability levels; and (2) fuzzy logic rules underpinning the decision-making process within the requirements analysis. The proposed method relies on comparative ratings of security requirements in the context of concrete vignettes, providing a novel, interdisciplinary approach to knowledge generation for fuzzy logic systems. The proposed approach is tested by evaluating 52 scenarios with 13 experts to compare their assessments to those of the fuzzy logic decision support system. The initial results show that the system provides reliable assessments to the security analysts, in particular, generating more conservative assessments in 19% of the test scenarios compared to the experts’ ratings. 

Mitra Bokaei Hosseini, Sudarshan Wadkar, Travis Breaux, Jianwei Niu.  2016.  Lexical Similarity of Information Type Hypernyms, Meronyms and Synonyms in Privacy Policies. Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

Privacy policies are used to communicate company data practices to consumers and must be accurate and comprehensive. Each policy author is free to use their own nomenclature when describing data practices, which leads to different ways in which similar information types are described across policies. A formal ontology can help policy authors, users and regulators consistently check how data practice descriptions relate to other interpretations of information types. In this paper, we describe an empirical method for manually constructing an information type ontology from privacy policies. The method consists of seven heuristics that explain how to infer hypernym, meronym and synonym relationships from information type phrases, which we discovered using grounded analysis of five privacy policies. The method was evaluated on 50 mobile privacy policies which produced an ontology consisting of 355 unique information type names. Based on the manual results, we describe an automated technique consisting of 14 reusable semantic rules to extract hypernymy, meronymy, and synonymy relations from information type phrases. The technique was evaluated on the manually constructed ontology to yield .95 precision and .51 recall.

Jaspreet Bhatia, Travis Breaux, Liora Friedberg, Hanan Hibshi, Daniel Smullen.  2016.  Privacy Risk in Cybersecurity Data Sharing. WISCS '16 Proceedings of the 2016 ACM on Workshop on Information Sharing and Collaborative Security.

As information systems become increasingly interdependent, there is an increased need to share cybersecurity data across government agencies and companies, and within and across industrial sectors. This sharing includes threat, vulnerability and incident reporting data, among other data. For cyberattacks that include sociotechnical vectors, such as phishing or watering hole attacks, this increased sharing could expose customer and employee personal data to increased privacy risk. In the US, privacy risk arises when the government voluntarily receives data from companies without meaningful consent from individuals, or without a lawful procedure that protects an individual's right to due process. In this paper, we describe a study to examine the trade-off between the need for potentially sensitive data, which we call incident data usage, and the perceived privacy risk of sharing that data with the government. The study is comprised of two parts: a data usage estimate built from a survey of 76 security professionals with mean eight years' experience; and a privacy risk estimate that measures privacy risk using an ordinal likelihood scale and nominal data types in factorial vignettes. The privacy risk estimate also factors in data purposes with different levels of societal benefit, including terrorism, imminent threat of death, economic harm, and loss of intellectual property. The results show which data types are high-usage, low-risk versus those that are low-usage, high-risk. We discuss the implications of these results and recommend future work to improve privacy when data must be shared despite the increased risk to privacy.

Cyrus Omar, Jonathan Aldrich.  2016.  Programmable semantic fragments: the design and implementation of typy. GPCE 2016 Proceedings of the 2016 ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Generative Programming: Concepts and Experiences.

This paper introduces typy, a statically typed programming language embedded by reflection into Python. typy features a fragmentary semantics, i.e. it delegates semantic control over each term, drawn from Python's fixed concrete and abstract syntax, to some contextually relevant user-defined semantic fragment. The delegated fragment programmatically 1) typechecks the term (following a bidirectional protocol); and 2) assigns dynamic meaning to the term by computing a translation to Python.

We argue that this design is expressive with examples of fragments that express the static and dynamic semantics of 1) functional records; 2) labeled sums (with nested pattern matching a la ML); 3) a variation on JavaScript's prototypal object system; and 4) typed foreign interfaces to Python and OpenCL. These semantic structures are, or would need to be, defined primitively in conventionally structured languages.

We further argue that this design is compositionally well-behaved. It avoids the expression problem and the problems of grammar composition because the syntax is fixed. Moreover, programs are semantically stable under fragment composition (i.e. defining a new fragment will not change the meaning of existing program components.)

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. 

Hamid Bagheri, Sam Malek.  2016.  Titanium: Efficient Analysis of Evolving Alloy Specifications. FSE 2016: ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on the Foundations of Software.

The Alloy specification language, and the corresponding Alloy Analyzer, have received much attention in the last two decades with applications in many areas of software engineering. Increasingly, formal analyses enabled by Alloy are desired for use in an on-line mode, where the specifications are automatically kept in sync with the running, possibly changing, software system. However, given Alloy Analyzer’s reliance on computationally expensive SAT solvers, an important challenge is the time it takes for such analyses to execute at runtime. The fact that in an on-line mode, the analyses are often repeated on slightly revised versions of a given specification, presents us with an opportunity to tackle this challenge. We present Titanium, an extension of Alloy for formal analysis of evolving specifications. By leveraging the results from previous analyses, Titanium narrows the state space of the revised specification, thereby greatly reducing the required computational effort. We describe the semantic basis of Titanium in terms of models specified in relational logic. We show how the approach can be realized atop an existing relational logic model finder. Our experimental results show Titanium achieves a significant speed-up over Alloy Analyzer when applied to the analysis of evolving specifications.

Hanan Hibshi, Travis Breaux, Maria Riaz, Laurie Williams.  2016.  A grounded analysis of experts’ decision-making during security assessments. Journal of Cybersecurity Advance Access .

Security analysis requires specialized knowledge to align threats and vulnerabilities in information technology. To identify mitigations, analysts need to understand how threats, vulnerabilities, and mitigations are composed together to yield security requirements. Despite abundant guidance in the form of checklists and controls about how to secure systems, evidence suggests that security experts do not apply these checklists. Instead, they rely on their prior knowledge and experience to identify security vulnerabilities. To better understand the different effects of checklists, design analysis, and expertise, we conducted a series of interviews to capture and encode the decisionmaking process of security experts and novices during three security analysis exercises. Participants were asked to analyze three kinds of artifacts: source code, data flow diagrams, and network diagrams, for vulnerabilities, and then to apply a requirements checklist to demonstrate their ability to mitigate vulnerabilities. We framed our study using Situation Awareness, which is a theory about human perception that was used to elicit interviewee responses. The responses were then analyzed using coding theory and grounded analysis. Our results include decision-making patterns that characterize how analysts perceive, comprehend, and project future threats against a system, and how these patterns relate to selecting security mitigations. Based on this analysis, we discovered new theory to measure how security experts and novices apply attack models and how structured and unstructured analysis enables increasing security requirements coverage. We highlight the role of expertise level and requirements composition in affecting security decision-making and we discuss how our method produced new hypotheses about security analysis and decisionmaking.