Visible to the public Automated Synthesis Framework for Network Security and Resilience - July 2021Conflict Detection Enabled

PI: Matthew Caesar

Co-PI: Dong (Kevin) Jin

Researchers: Matthew Caesar, Dong (Kevin) Jin, Bingzhe Liu, Santhosh Prabhu, Xiaoliang Wu

HARD PROBLEM(S) ADDRESSED
This refers to Hard Problems, released November 2012.

This project is developing the analysis methodology needed to support scientific reasoning about the resilience and security of networks, with a particular focus on network control and information/data flow. The core of this vision is an automated synthesis framework (ASF), which will automatically derive network state and repairs, from a set of specified correctness requirements and security policies. ASF consists of a set of techniques for performing and integrating security and resilience analyses applied at different layers in a real-time and automated fashion. This project is building both theoretical underpinnings and a practical realization of Science of Security. The proposed project covers four hard problems: (1) resilient architectures (primary), (2) scalability and composability, (3) policy-governed secure collaboration, and (4) security-metrics-driven evaluation, design, development and deployment.

PUBLICATIONS
Papers written as a result of your research from the current quarter only.

  • Christopher Hannon, Deepjyoti Deka, Dong Jin, Marc Vuffray, and Andrey Y. Lokhov. "Real-time Anomaly Detection and Classification in Streaming PMU Data." IEEE PowerTech Conference, June 2021

    Abstract: Phasor measurement units (PMUs) are being pervasively deployed in the grid to provide fast-sampled operational data to aid control and decision-making for reliable operation of the electric grid. This work presents a general and interpretable framework for analyzing PMU data in real-time. The proposed framework enables grid operators to understand changes to the current state and to identify anomalies in the PMU measurement data. We first learn an effective dynamical model to describe the current behavior of the system by applying statistical learning tools on the streaming PMU data. Next, we use the probabilistic predictions of our learned model to principally define an efficient anomaly detection tool. Finally, our framework produces real-time classification of the detected anomalies into common occurrence classes. We demonstrate the efficacy of our proposed framework through numerical experiments on real PMU data collected from a transmission operator in the USA.

    Hard problem(s) addressed:
    security-metrics-driven evaluation, design, development, and deployment

KEY HIGHLIGHTS
Each effort should submit one or two specific highlights. Each item should include a paragraph or two along with a citation if available. Write as if for the general reader of IEEE S&P.
The purpose of the highlights is to give our immediate sponsors a body of evidence that the funding they are providing (in the framework of the SoS lablet model) is delivering results that "more than justify" the investment they are making.

In the current quarter, our project progress is centered on addressing SoS lablet hard problems primarily in resilient architecture. Key highlights are listed as follows.

  • We published one paper in the IEEE PowerTech and presented one research poster at the ACM SIGSIM-PADS conference in the current quarter. We are also working to address the first-round review comments for our IEEE Transactions of Smart Grid paper.
  • We continue to study the interdependence between the power system and the communication network to improve resilience in critical energy infrastructures, which addresses the resilient architecture hard problem. In the current quarter, we conduct comparative evaluation between our optimization method and an existing utility practice on the same test system; we add a dysfunctional switch model to our proposed solution to ensure the system stability under new operational constraints (such as voltage and capacity limits); we also formulate a stochastic optimization model to address communication uncertainties; finally, we received the first-round review comments from the IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid and are revising our paper.
  • We continue to develop a simulation-based platform for cyber-physical system resilience and security evaluation, which addresses the resilient architecture and scalability hard problem. In the current quarter, we migrate the virtual time system kernel from Ubuntu 12 to Ubuntu 20 with the new compensation mechanism for I/O activities; we develop a large-scale case study to demonstrate the effect of the compensation mechanism; we also explore the impact of GPU intensive applications on the current virtual time system; finally, we presented a work-in-progress research poster at the ACM SIGSIM-PADS conference in May 2021.
  • We develop a general and interpretable framework for analyzing PMU data in real-time, which addresses the resilient architecture and security-metrics-driven evaluation hard problems. The proposed framework enables grid operators to understand changes to the current state and to identify anomalies in the PMU measurement data. In the current quarter, we presented the framework at the IEEE PowerTech conference in June 2021.
  • We have developed a design and evaluation framework for a self-driving "service provider infrastructure" that leverages our prior work on verification and synthesis to automatically self-configure to become resilient to attacks. Our initial focus Is on network and container orchestration systems, and our first implementation will target Kubernetes. Our platform leverages AI planning algorithms to synthesize steps the system needs to take to protect itself against incoming attacks from an intelligent adversary.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENTS

  • Kevin Jin will serve as a panelist in the "Dynamic Data-Driven Application Systems" track at the 2021 INFORMS annual conference.
  • Matthew Caesar co-founded and serves on the organizing committee of theNetworkingChannel, an online channel to discuss topics related to computer networking, systems, and security.
  • Yanfeng Qu and Kevin Jin gave an NSA seminar talk "Cyber-Resilience Enhancement of PMU Networks Using Software-Defined Networking" in March 2021.
  • Kevin Jin is organizing a track on Dynamic Data-Driven Application Systems for 2021 INFORMS.
  • Matthew Caesar was nominated for Vice Chair of ACM SIGCOMM 2020 and will appear on the ballot in 2021.
  • Matthew Caesar was listed as a Teacher Ranked as Excellent, At Highest Rank of Outstanding, in both 2020 and 2021. He was also nominated for the 2021 Rose Award for Teaching Excellence.
  • Matthew Caesar is working with Serge Fdida and Jim Kurose on creating a community "channel" for computer networking and security. The channel will feature speakers and provide interactive content students across the world stuck home during the pandemic, and beyond.
  • Matthew Caesar was selected to serve as the General Chair for ACM SIGCOMM 2021, the flagship conference for ACM's SIG on computer networking. As part of his duties, he is working towards creating a rich and vibrant environment for discussions and exchanges of ideas in the community, including emphases on network security. He also served on the program committee for the conference.
  • Matthew Caesar created and operates a new Slack workspace for the SIGCOMM community. The platform serves as a mechanism for participants to discuss security and networking topics with other participants. The platform has a channel to discuss a variety of topics, and includes a channel to discuss topics related to the science of security. The platform now has over 1,400 members.
  • Kevin Jin organized a virtual Ph.D. colloquium as part of the ACM SIGSIM-PADS conference in June 2020. The Ph.D. colloquium included a keynote speech and multiple student presentations with 99 attendees. We applied and received the NSF student travel grant for the event. The grant has been extended to SIGSIM-PADS'2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic made this year's conference online.
  • Kevin Jin was selected to serve on the program committee for IEEE SmartGridComm 2020
  • Kevin Jin was selected to serve on the program committee for ACM SIGSIM-PADS 2021
  • Kevin Jin served as the web chair for the 2020 ACM SIGCOMM Symposium on SDN Research (SOSR)
  • Matthew Caesar helped create and served as co-chair for an ACM SIGCOMM workshop on "Teaching and Learning Computer Networking During the Pandemic". The workshop will provide support to the many universities who suddenly had to move online during the pandemic, and the many students who are grappling and facing many new challenges with working online. The workshop was a great success, attracting over 200 participants across academia and industry.
  • Matthew Caesar was selected to serve as the mentoring chair for ACM SIGCOMM 2021. As part of his duties, he is helping to design the conference to be the first "virtual" SIGCOMM conference ever held.
  • Matthew Caesar was selected to serve on the program committee for ACM CCS 2021, a top conference in computer security.
  • Matthew Caesar was selected to serve on the program committee for ACM NSDI 2021, a top conference in computer systems.
  • Matthew Caesar was selected as an Editor for IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking.
  • Matthew Caesar continues to serve as Chief Science Officer of Veriflow, a company commercializing technology spun out of our Science of Security lablet work. Matthew has worked with Veriflow to undertake multiple new deployments of our earlier technology at top commercial-sector firms this quarter. The most recent news about Veriflow is available on the Veriflow web site (http://www.veriflow.net).
  • Matthew Caesar has continued an engagement with the University of Illinois Center for Digital Agriculture towards securing our nation's food supply. His work leverages machine learning to detect anomalies in supply-chain operations. He is in the process of conducting a prototype deployment of his work within the ISRL farm on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus.

EDUCATIONAL ADVANCES

  • Kevin Jin is developing a new graduate-level network security class for the University of Arkansas Global Campus. The class will be offered in Spring 2022.
  • Yanfeng Qu, a Ph.D. student of Kevin Jin, received the College of Computing Excellence in Dissertation Award at IIT.
  • Bo Zhang, a master student of Kevin Jin will be a Ph.D. candidate at Nanyang Technological University starting in May 2021.
  • Umar Farooq, an MS student of Matthew Caesar, graduated in December 2020, and will join Amazon, working on cloud network security and virtualization. Bella Lee, an MS student of Matthew Caesar, also graduated in December 2020, and will join Google, working on core network infrastructure.
  • Xin Liu, a Ph.D. student of Kevin Jin, graduated in December 2020, and will join Facebook, working on network emulation and evaluation.
  • Christopher Hannon, a Ph.D. student of Kevin Jin, graduated in May 2020, and started to work in CRCL GmbH in June 2020.
  • Kevin Jin and Kyle Hale developed a new graduate-level cyber security class "CSP544 System and Network Security" for Spring 2020 at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT); and the TA, Gong Chen (one of Kevin's Ph.D. student) received the 2020 Best TA award in Computer Science at IIT.
  • Kevin organized a virtual Ph.D. colloquium as part of the ACM SIGSIM-PADS conference in June 2020. The Ph.D. colloquium included a keynote speech and multiple student presentations with 99 attendees. We applied and received the NSF student travel grant for the event. The grant has been extended to SIGSIM-PADS'2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic made this year's conference online.
  • Jiaqi Yan, a former Ph.D. student of Kevin Jin, graduated in Dec 2019, and started to work in Microsoft in Jan 2020.
  • Christopher Hannon, a Ph.D. student of Kevin Jin, received the College of Science Excellence in Dissertation Award at IIT.
  • Matthew Caesar was elected to become the Vice Chair for ACM SIGCOMM. As part of his tenure, Matthew will work universities across the United States to further rigorous education and other initiatives on cybersecurity.
  • Kevin Jin served as the Director of the new Master of Cybersecurity Program in the College of Science at Illinois Institute of Technology (https://www.iit.edu/academics/programs/cybersecurity-mas). The program will serve as one more platform to disseminate the educational and research outcomes of our Science of Security project.
  • Matthew Caesar has created a new class on Internet of Things at UIUC. The class contains extensive coverage of security in this important domain. The class is slated for public release this fall on Coursera's Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) platform. The course will be open for enrollment by anyone, even people not attending the University of Illinois. Based on the success of the first offerings of this class, Matthew has developed an entire IoT online course sequence, which covers how to design and build resilient and secure IoT infrastructures. This course sequence will be offered to business professionals across the nation, and it is our hope it will have substantial impact in teaching our nation's workforce in building secure and resilient computing systems.
  • Matthew Caesar also continues to refine his Networking Laboratory class. He has developed a new set of Cybersecurity lectures for his class, covering important topics, and educating students on how to improve security of common networking deployments.
  • Matthew Caesar is currently constructing an online platform for working with IoT devices in the cloud. The platform virtualizes IoT devices, internally leveraging a new technology that extends virtual machines into the IoT domain. This work will probably take another year to develop, but when it is released, we hope to grow from small pilots to a platform that can allow students across the world to learn about and work with IoT security in a manner that greatly accelerates their ability to experiment and learn.