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John C. Mace, Newcastle University, Nipun Thekkummal, Newcastle University, Charles Morisset, Newcastle University, Aad Van Moorsel, Newcastle University.  2017.  ADaCS: A Tool for Analysing Data Collection Strategies. European Workshop on Performance Engineering (EPEW 2017).

Given a model with multiple input parameters, and multiple possible sources for collecting data for those parameters, a data collection strategy is a way of deciding from which sources to sample data, in order to reduce the variance on the output of the model. Cain and Van Moorsel have previously formulated the problem of optimal data collection strategy, when each arameter can be associated with a prior normal distribution, and when sampling is associated with a cost. In this paper, we present ADaCS, a new tool built as an extension of PRISM, which automatically analyses all possible data collection strategies for a model, and selects the optimal one. We illustrate ADaCS on attack trees, which are a structured approach to analyse the impact and the likelihood of success of attacks and defenses on computer and socio-technical systems. Furthermore, we introduce a new strategy exploration heuristic that significantly improves on a brute force approach.

John C. Mace, Newcastle University, Charles Morisset, Newcastle University, Aad Van Moorsel, Newcastle University.  2015.  Impact of Policy Design on Workflow Resiliency Computation Time. Quantitative Evaluation of Systems (QEST 2015).

Workflows are complex operational processes that include security constraints restricting which users can perform which tasks. An improper user-task assignment may prevent the completion of the work- flow, and deciding such an assignment at runtime is known to be complex, especially when considering user unavailability (known as the resiliency problem). Therefore, design tools are required that allow fast evaluation of workflow resiliency. In this paper, we propose a methodology for work- flow designers to assess the impact of the security policy on computing the resiliency of a workflow. Our approach relies on encoding a work- flow into the probabilistic model-checker PRISM, allowing its resiliency to be evaluated by solving a Markov Decision Process. We observe and illustrate that adding or removing some constraints has a clear impact on the resiliency computation time, and we compute the set of security constraints that can be artificially added to a security policy in order to reduce the computation time while maintaining the resiliency.

John C. Mace, Newcastle University, Charles Morisset, Newcastle University, Aad Van Moorsel, Newcastle University.  2015.  Modelling User Availability in Workflow Resiliency Analysis. Symposium and Bootcamp on the Science of Security (HotSoS).

Workflows capture complex operational processes and include security constraints limiting which users can perform which tasks. An improper security policy may prevent cer- tain tasks being assigned and may force a policy violation. Deciding whether a valid user-task assignment exists for a given policy is known to be extremely complex, especially when considering user unavailability (known as the resiliency problem). Therefore tools are required that allow automatic evaluation of workflow resiliency. Modelling well defined workflows is fairly straightforward, however user availabil- ity can be modelled in multiple ways for the same workflow. Correct choice of model is a complex yet necessary concern as it has a major impact on the calculated resiliency. We de- scribe a number of user availability models and their encod- ing in the model checker PRISM, used to evaluate resiliency. We also show how model choice can affect resiliency computation in terms of its value, memory and CPU time.

John C. Mace, Newcastle University, Charles Morisset, Newcastle University, Aad Van Moorsel, Newcastle University.  2015.  Resiliency Variance in Workflows with Choice. International Workshop on Software Engineering for Resilient Systems (SERENE 2015).

Computing a user-task assignment for a workflow coming with probabilistic user availability provides a measure of completion rate or resiliency. To a workflow designer this indicates a risk of failure, espe- cially useful for workflows which cannot be changed due to rigid security constraints. Furthermore, resiliency can help outline a mitigation strategy which states actions that can be performed to avoid workflow failures. A workflow with choice may have many different resiliency values, one for each of its execution paths. This makes understanding failure risk and mitigation requirements much more complex. We introduce resiliency variance, a new analysis metric for workflows which indicates volatility from the resiliency average. We suggest this metric can help determine the risk taken on by implementing a given workflow with choice. For instance, high average resiliency and low variance would suggest a low risk of workflow failure.