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N. Soule, B. Simidchieva, F. Yaman, R. Watro, J. Loyall, M. Atighetchi, M. Carvalho, D. Last, D. Myers, B. Flatley.  2015.  Quantifying & minimizing attack surfaces containing moving target defenses. 2015 Resilience Week (RWS). :1-6.

The cyber security exposure of resilient systems is frequently described as an attack surface. A larger surface area indicates increased exposure to threats and a higher risk of compromise. Ad-hoc addition of dynamic proactive defenses to distributed systems may inadvertently increase the attack surface. This can lead to cyber friendly fire, a condition in which adding superfluous or incorrectly configured cyber defenses unintentionally reduces security and harms mission effectiveness. Examples of cyber friendly fire include defenses which themselves expose vulnerabilities (e.g., through an unsecured admin tool), unknown interaction effects between existing and new defenses causing brittleness or unavailability, and new defenses which may provide security benefits, but cause a significant performance impact leading to mission failure through timeliness violations. This paper describes a prototype service capability for creating semantic models of attack surfaces and using those models to (1) automatically quantify and compare cost and security metrics across multiple surfaces, covering both system and defense aspects, and (2) automatically identify opportunities for minimizing attack surfaces, e.g., by removing interactions that are not required for successful mission execution.