Visible to the public Biblio

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Dax, Alexander, Künnemann, Robert.  2021.  On the Soundness of Infrastructure Adversaries. 2021 IEEE 34th Computer Security Foundations Symposium (CSF). :1–16.
Campus Companies and network operators perform risk assessment to inform policy-making, guide infrastructure investments or to comply with security standards such as ISO 27001. Due to the size and complexity of these networks, risk assessment techniques such as attack graphs or trees describe the attacker with a finite set of rules. This characterization of the attacker can easily miss attack vectors or overstate them, potentially leading to incorrect risk estimation. In this work, we propose the first methodology to justify a rule-based attacker model. Conceptually, we add another layer of abstraction on top of the symbolic model of cryptography, which reasons about protocols and abstracts cryptographic primitives. This new layer reasons about Internet-scale networks and abstracts protocols.We show, in general, how the soundness and completeness of a rule-based model can be ensured by verifying trace properties, linking soundness to safety properties and completeness to liveness properties. We then demonstrate the approach for a recently proposed threat model that quantifies the confidentiality of email communication on the Internet, including DNS, DNSSEC, and SMTP. Using off-the-shelf protocol verification tools, we discover two flaws in their threat model. After fixing them, we show that it provides symbolic soundness.
Enoch, Simon Yusuf, Hong, Jin B., Ge, Mengmeng, Alzaid, Hani, Kim, Dong Seong.  2018.  Automated Security Investment Analysis of Dynamic Networks. Proceedings of the Australasian Computer Science Week Multiconference. :6:1-6:10.
It is important to assess the cost benefits of IT security investments. Typically, this is done by manual risk assessment process. In this paper, we propose an approach to automate this using graphical security models (GSMs). GSMs have been used to assess the security of networked systems using various security metrics. Most of the existing GSMs assumed that networks are static, however, modern networks (e.g., Cloud and Software Defined Networking) are dynamic with changes. Thus, it is important to develop an approach that takes into account the dynamic aspects of networks. To this end, we automate security investments analysis of dynamic networks using a GSM named Temporal-Hierarchical Attack Representation Model (T-HARM) in order to automatically evaluate the security investments and their effectiveness for a given period of time. We demonstrate our approach via simulations.
Laszka, A., Abbas, W., Vorobeychik, Y., Koutsoukos, X..  2018.  Synergistic Security for the Industrial Internet of Things: Integrating Redundancy, Diversity, and Hardening. 2018 IEEE International Conference on Industrial Internet (ICII). :153–158.
As the Industrial Internet of Things (IIot) becomes more prevalent in critical application domains, ensuring security and resilience in the face of cyber-attacks is becoming an issue of paramount importance. Cyber-attacks against critical infrastructures, for example, against smart water-distribution and transportation systems, pose serious threats to public health and safety. Owing to the severity of these threats, a variety of security techniques are available. However, no single technique can address the whole spectrum of cyber-attacks that may be launched by a determined and resourceful attacker. In light of this, we consider a multi-pronged approach for designing secure and resilient IIoT systems, which integrates redundancy, diversity, and hardening techniques. We introduce a framework for quantifying cyber-security risks and optimizing IIoT design by determining security investments in redundancy, diversity, and hardening. To demonstrate the applicability of our framework, we present a case study in water-distribution systems. Our numerical evaluation shows that integrating redundancy, diversity, and hardening can lead to reduced security risk at the same cost.
Chaisiri, S., Ko, R. K. L..  2016.  From Reactionary to Proactive Security: Context-Aware Security Policy Management and Optimization under Uncertainty. 2016 IEEE Trustcom/BigDataSE/ISPA. :535–543.

At the core of its nature, security is a highly contextual and dynamic challenge. However, current security policy approaches are usually static, and slow to adapt to ever-changing requirements, let alone catching up with reality. In a 2012 Sophos survey, it was stated that a unique malware is created every half a second. This gives a glimpse of the unsustainable nature of a global problem, any improvement in terms of closing the "time window to adapt" would be a significant step forward. To exacerbate the situation, a simple change in threat and attack vector or even an implementation of the so-called "bring-your-own-device" paradigm will greatly change the frequency of changed security requirements and necessary solutions required for each new context. Current security policies also typically overlook the direct and indirect costs of implementation of policies. As a result, technical teams often fail to have the ability to justify the budget to the management, from a business risk viewpoint. This paper considers both the adaptive and cost-benefit aspects of security, and introduces a novel context-aware technique for designing and implementing adaptive, optimized security policies. Our approach leverages the capabilities of stochastic programming models to optimize security policy planning, and our preliminary results demonstrate a promising step towards proactive, context-aware security policies.

Davidson, Alex, Fenn, Gregory, Cid, Carlos.  2016.  A Model for Secure and Mutually Beneficial Software Vulnerability Sharing. Proceedings of the 2016 ACM on Workshop on Information Sharing and Collaborative Security. :3–14.

In this work we propose a model for conducting efficient and mutually beneficial information sharing between two competing entities, focusing specifically on software vulnerability sharing. We extend the two-stage game-theoretic model proposed by Khouzani et al. [18] for bug sharing, addressing two key features: we allow security information to be associated with different categories and severities, but also remove a large proportion of player homogeneity assumptions the previous work makes. We then analyse how these added degrees of realism affect the trading dynamics of the game. Secondly, we develop a new private set operation (PSO) protocol that enables the removal of the trusted mediation requirement. The PSO functionality allows for bilateral trading between the two entities up to a mutually agreed threshold on the value of information shared, keeping all other input information secret. The protocol scales linearly with set sizes and we give an implementation that establishes the practicality of the design for varying input parameters. The resulting model and protocol provide a framework for practical and secure information sharing between competing entities.

Vasek, Marie, Weeden, Matthew, Moore, Tyler.  2016.  Measuring the Impact of Sharing Abuse Data with Web Hosting Providers. Proceedings of the 2016 ACM on Workshop on Information Sharing and Collaborative Security. :71–80.

Sharing incident data among Internet operators is widely seen as an important strategy in combating cybercrime. However, little work has been done to quantify the positive benefits of such sharing. To that end, we report on an observational study of URLs blacklisted for distributing malware that the non-profit anti-malware organization StopBadware shared with requesting web hosting providers. Our dataset comprises over 28,000 URLs shared with 41 organizations between 2010 and 2015. We show that sharing has an immediate effect of cleaning the reported URLs and reducing the likelihood that they will be recompromised; despite this, we find that long-lived malware takes much longer to clean, even after being reported. Furthermore, we find limited evidence that one-time sharing of malware data improves the malware cleanup response of all providers over the long term. Instead, some providers improve while others worsen.