Visible to the public Biblio

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Luo, Bo, Beuran, Razvan, Tan, Yasuo.  2020.  Smart Grid Security: Attack Modeling from a CPS Perspective. 2020 IEEE Computing, Communications and IoT Applications (ComComAp). :1–6.
With the development of smart grid technologies and the fast adoption of household IoT devices in recent years, new threats, attacks, and security challenges arise. While a large number of vulnerabilities, threats, attacks and controls have been discussed in the literature, there lacks an abstract and generalizable framework that can be used to model the cyber-physical interactions of attacks and guide the design of defense mechanisms. In this paper, we propose a new modeling approach for security attacks in smart grids and IoT devices using a Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) perspective. The model considers both the cyber and physical aspects of the core components of the smart grid system and the household IoT devices, as well as the interactions between the components. In particular, our model recognizes the two parallel attack channels via the cyber world and the physical world, and identifies the potential crossing routes between these two attack channels. We further discuss all possible attack surfaces, attack objectives, and attack paths in this newly proposed model. As case studies, we examine from the perspective of this new model three representative attacks proposed in the literature. The analysis demonstrates the applicability of the model, for instance, to assist the design of detection and defense mechanisms against smart grid cyber-attacks.
Guan, Le, Cao, Chen, Zhu, Sencun, Lin, Jingqiang, Liu, Peng, Xia, Yubin, Luo, Bo.  2019.  Protecting mobile devices from physical memory attacks with targeted encryption. Proceedings of the 12th Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks. :34–44.
Sensitive data in a process could be scattered over the memory of a computer system for a prolonged period of time. Unfortunately, DRAM chips were proven insecure in previous studies. The problem becomes worse in the mobile environment, in which users' smartphones are easily lost or stolen. The powered-on phones may contain sensitive data in the vulnerable DRAM chips. In this paper, we propose MemVault, a mechanism to protect sensitive data in Android devices against physical memory attacks. MemVault keeps track of the propagation of well-marked sensitive data sources, and selectively encrypts tainted sensitive memory contents in the DRAM chip. When a tainted object is accessed, MemVault redirects the access to the internal RAM (iRAM), where the cipher-text object is decrypted transparently. iRAM is a system-on-chip (SoC) component which is by nature immune to physical memory exploits. We have implemented a MemVault prototype system, and have evaluated it with extensive experiments. Our results validate that MemVault effectively eliminates the occurrences of clear-text sensitive objects in DRAM chips, and imposes acceptable overheads.
Li, Congwu, Lin, Jingqiang, Cai, Quanwei, Luo, Bo.  2018.  Peapods: OS-Independent Memory Confidentiality for Cryptographic Engines. 2018 IEEE Intl Conf on Parallel Distributed Processing with Applications, Ubiquitous Computing Communications, Big Data Cloud Computing, Social Computing Networking, Sustainable Computing Communications (ISPA/IUCC/BDCloud/SocialCom/SustainCom). :862–869.
Cryptography is widely adopted in computer systems to protect the confidentiality of sensitive information. The security relies on the assumption that cryptography keys are never leaked, which may be broken by the memory disclosure attacks, e.g., the Heartbleed and coldboot attacks. Various schemes are proposed to defend against memory disclosure attacks, e.g., performing the cryptographic computations in registers, or adopting the hardware features (e.g., Intel TSX and Intel SGX) to ensure that the plaintext of the cryptography key never appears in memory. However, these schemes are still not widely deployed due to the following limitations: (a) Most of the schemes are deployed in the OS kernel and require the root (or administrator) privileges of the host; and (b) They require the programmers to integrate these protection schemes in the implementation of different cryptography algorithms on different platforms. In this paper, we propose a tool implemented in Clang/LLVM, named Peapods, which provides the user-mode protection for cryptographic keys in software engines. It introduces one qualifier and three intrinsics for the programmers to specify the sensitive variables and code fragments to be protected, making it easier to be deployed. Peapods adopts transactional memory to protect cryptographic keys, while it is OS-independent and does not require the cryptographic computation performed in the OS kernel. Peapods supports the automatic protection between transactions for better performance. We have implemented the prototype of Peapods. Evaluation results demonstrate that Peapods achieves the design goals with a modest overhead (less than 10%).
Guan, Le, Jia, Shijie, Chen, Bo, Zhang, Fengwei, Luo, Bo, Lin, Jingqiang, Liu, Peng, Xing, Xinyu, Xia, Luning.  2017.  Supporting Transparent Snapshot for Bare-metal Malware Analysis on Mobile Devices. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Computer Security Applications Conference. :339–349.

The increasing growth of cybercrimes targeting mobile devices urges an efficient malware analysis platform. With the emergence of evasive malware, which is capable of detecting that it is being analyzed in virtualized environments, bare-metal analysis has become the definitive resort. Existing works mainly focus on extracting the malicious behaviors exposed during bare-metal analysis. However, after malware analysis, it is equally important to quickly restore the system to a clean state to examine the next sample. Unfortunately, state-of-the-art solutions on mobile platforms can only restore the disk, and require a time-consuming system reboot. In addition, all of the existing works require some in-guest components to assist the restoration. Therefore, a kernel-level malware is still able to detect the presence of the in-guest components. We propose Bolt, a transparent restoration mechanism for bare-metal analysis on mobile platform without rebooting. Bolt achieves a reboot-less restoration by simultaneously making a snapshot for both the physical memory and the disk. Memory snapshot is enabled by an isolated operating system (BoltOS) in the ARM TrustZone secure world, and disk snapshot is accomplished by a piece of customized firmware (BoltFTL) for flash-based block devices. Because both the BoltOS and the BoltFTL are isolated from the guest system, even kernel-level malware cannot interfere with the restoration. More importantly, Bolt does not require any modifications into the guest system. As such, Bolt is the first that simultaneously achieves efficiency, isolation, and stealthiness to recover from infection due to malware execution. We have implemented a Bolt prototype working with the Android OS. Experimental results show that Bolt can restore the guest system to a clean state in only 2.80 seconds.