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Ying, Xuhang, Bernieri, Giuseppe, Conti, Mauro, Bushnell, Linda, Poovendran, Radha.  2021.  Covert Channel-Based Transmitter Authentication in Controller Area Networks. IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing. :1–1.
In recent years, the security of automotive Cyber-Physical Systems (CPSs) is facing urgent threats due to the widespread use of legacy in-vehicle communication systems. As a representative legacy bus system, the Controller Area Network (CAN) hosts Electronic Control Units (ECUs) that are crucial for the vehicles functioning. In this scenario, malicious actors can exploit the CAN vulnerabilities, such as the lack of built-in authentication and encryption schemes, to launch CAN bus attacks. In this paper, we present TACAN (Transmitter Authentication in CAN), which provides secure authentication of ECUs on the legacy CAN bus by exploiting the covert channels. TACAN turns upside-down the originally malicious concept of covert channels and exploits it to build an effective defensive technique that facilitates transmitter authentication. TACAN consists of three different covert channels: 1) Inter-Arrival Time (IAT)-based, 2) Least Significant Bit (LSB)-based, and 3) hybrid covert channels. In order to validate TACAN, we implement the covert channels on the University of Washington (UW) EcoCAR (Chevrolet Camaro 2016) testbed. We further evaluate the bit error, throughput, and detection performance of TACAN through extensive experiments using the EcoCAR testbed and a publicly available dataset collected from Toyota Camry 2010.
Conference Name: IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing
Ramasubramanian, Bhaskar, Niu, Luyao, Clark, Andrew, Bushnell, Linda, Poovendran, Radha.  2020.  Privacy-Preserving Resilience of Cyber-Physical Systems to Adversaries. 2020 59th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC). :3785–3792.

A cyber-physical system (CPS) is expected to be resilient to more than one type of adversary. In this paper, we consider a CPS that has to satisfy a linear temporal logic (LTL) objective in the presence of two kinds of adversaries. The first adversary has the ability to tamper with inputs to the CPS to influence satisfaction of the LTL objective. The interaction of the CPS with this adversary is modeled as a stochastic game. We synthesize a controller for the CPS to maximize the probability of satisfying the LTL objective under any policy of this adversary. The second adversary is an eavesdropper who can observe labeled trajectories of the CPS generated from the previous step. It could then use this information to launch other kinds of attacks. A labeled trajectory is a sequence of labels, where a label is associated to a state and is linked to the satisfaction of the LTL objective at that state. We use differential privacy to quantify the indistinguishability between states that are related to each other when the eavesdropper sees a labeled trajectory. Two trajectories of equal length will be differentially private if they are differentially private at each state along the respective trajectories. We use a skewed Kantorovich metric to compute distances between probability distributions over states resulting from actions chosen according to policies from related states in order to quantify differential privacy. Moreover, we do this in a manner that does not affect the satisfaction probability of the LTL objective. We validate our approach on a simulation of a UAV that has to satisfy an LTL objective in an adversarial environment.

Sahabandu, Dinuka, Moothedath, Shana, Bushnell, Linda, Poovendran, Radha, Aller, Joey, Lee, Wenke, Clark, Andrew.  2019.  A Game Theoretic Approach for Dynamic Information Flow Tracking with Conditional Branching. 2019 American Control Conference (ACC). :2289–2296.
In this paper, we study system security against Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). APTs are stealthy and persistent but APTs interact with system and introduce information flows in the system as data-flow and control-flow commands. Dynamic Information Flow Tracking (DIFT) is a promising detection mechanism against APTs which taints suspicious input sources in the system and performs online security analysis when a tainted information is used in unauthorized manner. Our objective in this paper is to model DIFT that handle data-flow and conditional branches in the program that arise from control-flow commands. We use game theoretic framework and provide the first analytical model of DIFT with data-flow and conditional-branch tracking. Our game model which is an undiscounted infinite-horizon stochastic game captures the interaction between APTs and DIFT and the notion of conditional branching. We prove that the best response of the APT is a maximal reachability probability problem and provide a polynomial-time algorithm to find the best response by solving a linear optimization problem. We formulate the best response of the defense as a linear optimization problem and show that an optimal solution to the linear program returns a deterministic optimal policy for the defense. Since finding Nash equilibrium for infinite-horizon undiscounted stochastic games is computationally difficult, we present a nonlinear programming based polynomial-time algorithm to find an E-Nash equilibrium. Finally, we perform experimental analysis of our algorithm on real-world data for NetRecon attack augmented with conditional branching.
Poovendran, Radha.  2018.  Dynamic Defense Against Adaptive and Persistent Adversaries. Proceedings of the 5th ACM Workshop on Moving Target Defense. :57-58.

This talk will cover two topics, namely, modeling and design of Moving Target Defense (MTD), and DIFT games for modeling Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). We will first present a game-theoretic approach to characterizing the trade-off between resource efficiency and defense effectiveness in decoy- and randomization-based MTD. We will then address the game formulation for APTs. APTs are mounted by intelligent and resourceful adversaries who gain access to a targeted system and gather information over an extended period of time. APTs consist of multiple stages, including initial system compromise, privilege escalation, and data exfiltration, each of which involves strategic interaction between the APT and the targeted system. While this interaction can be viewed as a game, the stealthiness, adaptiveness, and unpredictability of APTs imply that the information structure of the game and the strategies of the APT are not readily available. Our approach to modeling APTs is based on the insight that the persistent nature of APTs creates information flows in the system that can be monitored. One monitoring mechanism is Dynamic Information Flow Tracking (DIFT), which taints and tracks malicious information flows through a system and inspects the flows at designated traps. Since tainting all flows in the system will incur significant memory and storage overhead, efficient tagging policies are needed to maximize the probability of detecting the APT while minimizing resource costs. In this work, we develop a multi-stage stochastic game framework for modeling the interaction between an APT and a DIFT, as well as designing an efficient DIFT-based defense. Our model is grounded on APT data gathered using the Refinable Attack Investigation (RAIN) flow-tracking framework. We present the current state of our formulation, insights that it provides on designing effective defenses against APTs, and directions for future work.