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2021-09-16
Torkura, Kennedy A., Sukmana, Muhammad I. H., Cheng, Feng, Meinel, Christoph.  2020.  CloudStrike: Chaos Engineering for Security and Resiliency in Cloud Infrastructure. IEEE Access. 8:123044–123060.
Most cyber-attacks and data breaches in cloud infrastructure are due to human errors and misconfiguration vulnerabilities. Cloud customer-centric tools are imperative for mitigating these issues, however existing cloud security models are largely unable to tackle these security challenges. Therefore, novel security mechanisms are imperative, we propose Risk-driven Fault Injection (RDFI) techniques to address these challenges. RDFI applies the principles of chaos engineering to cloud security and leverages feedback loops to execute, monitor, analyze and plan security fault injection campaigns, based on a knowledge-base. The knowledge-base consists of fault models designed from secure baselines, cloud security best practices and observations derived during iterative fault injection campaigns. These observations are helpful for identifying vulnerabilities while verifying the correctness of security attributes (integrity, confidentiality and availability). Furthermore, RDFI proactively supports risk analysis and security hardening efforts by sharing security information with security mechanisms. We have designed and implemented the RDFI strategies including various chaos engineering algorithms as a software tool: CloudStrike. Several evaluations have been conducted with CloudStrike against infrastructure deployed on two major public cloud infrastructure: Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. The time performance linearly increases, proportional to increasing attack rates. Also, the analysis of vulnerabilities detected via security fault injection has been used to harden the security of cloud resources to demonstrate the effectiveness of the security information provided by CloudStrike. Therefore, we opine that our approaches are suitable for overcoming contemporary cloud security issues.
Conference Name: IEEE Access
2020-08-24
Torkura, Kennedy A., Sukmana, Muhammad I.H., Cheng, Feng, Meinel, Christoph.  2019.  SlingShot - Automated Threat Detection and Incident Response in Multi Cloud Storage Systems. 2019 IEEE 18th International Symposium on Network Computing and Applications (NCA). :1–5.
Cyber-attacks against cloud storage infrastructure e.g. Amazon S3 and Google Cloud Storage, have increased in recent years. One reason for this development is the rising adoption of cloud storage for various purposes. Robust counter-measures are therefore required to tackle these attacks especially as traditional techniques are not appropriate for the evolving attacks. We propose a two-pronged approach to address these challenges in this paper. The first approach involves dynamic snapshotting and recovery strategies to detect and partially neutralize security events. The second approach builds on the initial step by automatically correlating the generated alerts with cloud event log, to extract actionable intelligence for incident response. Thus, malicious activities are investigated, identified and eliminated. This approach is implemented in SlingShot, a cloud threat detection and incident response system which extends our earlier work - CSBAuditor, which implements the first step. The proposed techniques work together in near real time to mitigate the aforementioned security issues on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). We evaluated our techniques using real cloud attacks implemented with static and dynamic methods. The average Mean Time to Detect is 30 seconds for both providers, while the Mean Time to Respond is 25 minutes and 90 minutes for AWS and GCP respectively. Thus, our proposal effectively tackles contemporary cloud attacks.
2020-07-27
Torkura, Kennedy A., Sukmana, Muhammad I.H., Cheng, Feng, Meinel, Christoph.  2019.  Security Chaos Engineering for Cloud Services: Work In Progress. 2019 IEEE 18th International Symposium on Network Computing and Applications (NCA). :1–3.
The majority of security breaches in cloud infrastructure in recent years are caused by human errors and misconfigured resources. Novel security models are imperative to overcome these issues. Such models must be customer-centric, continuous, not focused on traditional security paradigms like intrusion detection and adopt proactive techniques. Thus, this paper proposes CloudStrike, a cloud security system that implements the principles of Chaos Engineering to enable the aforementioned properties. Chaos Engineering is an emerging discipline employed to prevent non-security failures in cloud infrastructure via Fault Injection Testing techniques. CloudStrike employs similar techniques with a focus on injecting failures that impact security i.e. integrity, confidentiality and availability. Essentially, CloudStrike leverages the relationship between dependability and security models. Preliminary experiments provide insightful and prospective results.
2020-07-13
Grüner, Andreas, Mühle, Alexander, Meinel, Christoph.  2019.  Using Probabilistic Attribute Aggregation for Increasing Trust in Attribute Assurance. 2019 IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence (SSCI). :633–640.
Identity management is an essential cornerstone of securing online services. Service provisioning relies on correct and valid attributes of a digital identity. Therefore, the identity provider is a trusted third party with a specific trust requirement towards a verified attribute supply. This trust demand implies a significant dependency on users and service providers. We propose a novel attribute aggregation method to reduce the reliance on one identity provider. Trust in an attribute is modelled as a combined assurance of several identity providers based on probability distributions. We formally describe the proposed aggregation model. The resulting trust model is implemented in a gateway that is used for authentication with self-sovereign identity solutions. Thereby, we devise a service provider specific web of trust that constitutes an intermediate approach bridging a global hierarchical model and a locally decentralized peer to peer scheme.
2020-07-10
Podlesny, Nikolai J., Kayem, Anne V.D.M., Meinel, Christoph.  2019.  Identifying Data Exposure Across Distributed High-Dimensional Health Data Silos through Bayesian Networks Optimised by Multigrid and Manifold. 2019 IEEE Intl Conf on Dependable, Autonomic and Secure Computing, Intl Conf on Pervasive Intelligence and Computing, Intl Conf on Cloud and Big Data Computing, Intl Conf on Cyber Science and Technology Congress (DASC/PiCom/CBDCom/CyberSciTech). :556—563.

We present a novel, and use case agnostic method of identifying and circumventing private data exposure across distributed and high-dimensional data repositories. Examples of distributed high-dimensional data repositories include medical research and treatment data, where oftentimes more than 300 describing attributes appear. As such, providing strong guarantees of data anonymity in these repositories is a hard constraint in adhering to privacy legislation. Yet, when applied to distributed high-dimensional data, existing anonymisation algorithms incur high levels of information loss and do not guarantee privacy defeating the purpose of anonymisation. In this paper, we address this issue by using Bayesian networks to handle data transformation for anonymisation. By evaluating every attribute combination to determine the privacy exposure risk, the conditional probability linking attribute pairs is computed. Pairs with a high conditional probability expose the risk of deanonymisation similar to quasi-identifiers and can be separated instead of deleted, as in previous algorithms. Attribute separation removes the risk of privacy exposure, and deletion avoidance results in a significant reduction in information loss. In other words, assimilating the conditional probability of outliers directly in the adjacency matrix in a greedy fashion is quick and thwarts de-anonymisation. Since identifying every privacy violating attribute combination is a W[2]-complete problem, we optimise the procedure with a multigrid solver method by evaluating the conditional probabilities between attribute pairs, and aggregating state space explosion of attribute pairs through manifold learning. Finally, incremental processing of new data is achieved through inexpensive, continuous (delta) learning.

2020-01-13
Seidel, Felix, Krentz, Konrad-Felix, Meinel, Christoph.  2019.  Deep En-Route Filtering of Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) Messages on 6LoWPAN Border Routers. 2019 IEEE 5th World Forum on Internet of Things (WF-IoT). :201–206.
Devices on the Internet of Things (IoT) are usually battery-powered and have limited resources. Hence, energy-efficient and lightweight protocols were designed for IoT devices, such as the popular Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP). Yet, CoAP itself does not include any defenses against denial-of-sleep attacks, which are attacks that aim at depriving victim devices of entering low-power sleep modes. For example, a denial-of-sleep attack against an IoT device that runs a CoAP server is to send plenty of CoAP messages to it, thereby forcing the IoT device to expend energy for receiving and processing these CoAP messages. All current security solutions for CoAP, namely Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS), IPsec, and OSCORE, fail to prevent such attacks. To fill this gap, Seitz et al. proposed a method for filtering out inauthentic and replayed CoAP messages "en-route" on 6LoWPAN border routers. In this paper, we expand on Seitz et al.'s proposal in two ways. First, we revise Seitz et al.'s software architecture so that 6LoWPAN border routers can not only check the authenticity and freshness of CoAP messages, but can also perform a wide range of further checks. Second, we propose a couple of such further checks, which, as compared to Seitz et al.'s original checks, more reliably protect IoT devices that run CoAP servers from remote denial-of-sleep attacks, as well as from remote exploits. We prototyped our solution and successfully tested its compatibility with Contiki-NG's CoAP implementation.
2019-12-02
Torkura, Kennedy A., Sukmana, Muhammad I.H., Kayem, Anne V.D.M., Cheng, Feng, Meinel, Christoph.  2018.  A Cyber Risk Based Moving Target Defense Mechanism for Microservice Architectures. 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). :932–939.
Microservice Architectures (MSA) structure applications as a collection of loosely coupled services that implement business capabilities. The key advantages of MSA include inherent support for continuous deployment of large complex applications, agility and enhanced productivity. However, studies indicate that most MSA are homogeneous, and introduce shared vulnerabilites, thus vulnerable to multi-step attacks, which are economics-of-scale incentives to attackers. In this paper, we address the issue of shared vulnerabilities in microservices with a novel solution based on the concept of Moving Target Defenses (MTD). Our mechanism works by performing risk analysis against microservices to detect and prioritize vulnerabilities. Thereafter, security risk-oriented software diversification is employed, guided by a defined diversification index. The diversification is performed at runtime, leveraging both model and template based automatic code generation techniques to automatically transform programming languages and container images of the microservices. Consequently, the microservices attack surfaces are altered thereby introducing uncertainty for attackers while reducing the attackability of the microservices. Our experiments demonstrate the efficiency of our solution, with an average success rate of over 70% attack surface randomization.
2017-12-12
Shaabani, Nuhad, Meinel, Christoph.  2017.  Incremental Discovery of Inclusion Dependencies. Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Scientific and Statistical Database Management. :2:1–2:12.

Inclusion dependencies form one of the most fundamental classes of integrity constraints. Their importance in classical data management is reinforced by modern applications such as data profiling, data cleaning, entity resolution and schema matching. Their discovery in an unknown dataset is at the core of any data analysis effort. Therefore, several research approaches have focused on their efficient discovery in a given, static dataset. However, none of these approaches are appropriate for applications on dynamic datasets, such as transactional datasets, scientific applications, and social network. In these cases, discovery techniques should be able to efficiently update the inclusion dependencies after an update in the dataset, without reprocessing the entire dataset. We present the first approach for incrementally updating the unary inclusion dependencies. In particular, our approach is based on the concept of attribute clustering from which the unary inclusion dependencies are efficiently derivable. We incrementally update the clusters after each update of the dataset. Updating the clusters does not need to access the dataset because of special data structures designed to efficiently support the updating process. We perform an exhaustive analysis of our approach by applying it to large datasets with several hundred attributes and more than 116,200,000 million tuples. The results show that the incremental discovery significantly reduces the runtime needed by the static discovery. This reduction in the runtime is up to 99.9996 % for both the insert and the delete.

2017-03-20
Graupner, Hendrik, Jaeger, David, Cheng, Feng, Meinel, Christoph.  2016.  Automated Parsing and Interpretation of Identity Leaks. Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on Computing Frontiers. :127–134.

The relevance of identity data leaks on the Internet is more present than ever. Almost every month we read about leakage of databases with more than a million users in the news. Smaller but not less dangerous leaks happen even multiple times a day. The public availability of such leaked data is a major threat to the victims, but also creates the opportunity to learn not only about security of service providers but also the behavior of users when choosing passwords. Our goal is to analyze this data and generate knowledge that can be used to increase security awareness and security, respectively. This paper presents a novel approach to automatic analysis of a vast majority of bigger and smaller leaks. Our contribution is the concept and a prototype implementation of a parser, composed of a syntactic and a semantic module, and a data analyzer for identity leaks. In this context, we deal with the two major challenges of a huge amount of different formats and the recognition of leaks' unknown data types. Based on the data collected, this paper reveals how easy it is for criminals to collect lots of passwords, which are plain text or only weakly hashed.

Graupner, Hendrik, Jaeger, David, Cheng, Feng, Meinel, Christoph.  2016.  Automated Parsing and Interpretation of Identity Leaks. Proceedings of the ACM International Conference on Computing Frontiers. :127–134.

The relevance of identity data leaks on the Internet is more present than ever. Almost every month we read about leakage of databases with more than a million users in the news. Smaller but not less dangerous leaks happen even multiple times a day. The public availability of such leaked data is a major threat to the victims, but also creates the opportunity to learn not only about security of service providers but also the behavior of users when choosing passwords. Our goal is to analyze this data and generate knowledge that can be used to increase security awareness and security, respectively. This paper presents a novel approach to automatic analysis of a vast majority of bigger and smaller leaks. Our contribution is the concept and a prototype implementation of a parser, composed of a syntactic and a semantic module, and a data analyzer for identity leaks. In this context, we deal with the two major challenges of a huge amount of different formats and the recognition of leaks' unknown data types. Based on the data collected, this paper reveals how easy it is for criminals to collect lots of passwords, which are plain text or only weakly hashed.