Formalizing Threat Models for Virtualized Systems

30th Annual IFIP WG 11.3 Working Conference on Data and Applications Security and Privacy (DBSec 2016)!

Authors: Daniele Sgandurra, Erisa Karafili and Emil Lupu.

Abstract: We propose a framework, called FATHoM (FormAlizing THreat Models), to define threat models for virtualized systems. For each component of a virtualized system, we specify a set of security proper- ties that defines its control responsibility, its vulnerability and protection states. Relations are used to represent how assumptions made about a component’s security state restrict the assumptions that can be made on the other components. FATHoM includes a set of rules to compute the derived security states from the assumptions and the components’ relations. A further set of relations and rules is used to define how to protect the derived vulnerable components. The resulting system is then analysed, among others, for consistency of the threat model. We have developed a tool that implements FATHoM, and have validated it with use-cases adapted from the literature.

Paper:Threat Model paper @ DBSec

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PETRAS Hub for the IoT

PETRAS_logo_black smallWe are thrilled to be part of the PETRAS IoT Hub which aims to ensure that the UK remains a global leader in the Internet of Things. PETRAS (Privacy, Ethics, Trust, Reliability, Acceptability and Security) groups together 9 leading UK universities and has more than 47 user partners from industry and the public sector. The consortium has received a £9.8M grant from the EPSRC. Dr Emil Lupu is to serve as Deputy Director of the Hub and lead for the Security and Safety Theme.

Evolution of Attacks, Threat Models and Solutions for Virtualized Systems

ACM DL Author-ize serviceEvolution of Attacks, Threat Models, and Solutions for Virtualized Systems

Daniele Sgandurra, Emil Lupu, ACM Computing Surveys (CSUR), Volume 48 Issue 3, Article No. 46, February 2016

Abstract: Virtualization technology enables Cloud providers to efficiently use their computing services and resources. Even if the benefits in terms of performance, maintenance, and cost are evident, however, virtualization has also been exploited by attackers to devise new ways to compromise a system. To address these problems, research security solutions have evolved considerably over the years to cope with new attacks and threat models. In this work, we review the protection strategies proposed in the literature and show how some of the solutions have been invalidated by new attacks, or threat models, that were previously not considered. The goal is to show the evolution of the threats, and of the related security and trust assumptions, in virtualized systems that have given rise to complex threat models and the corresponding sophistication of protection strategies to deal with such attacks. We also categorize threat models, security and trust assumptions, and attacks against a virtualized system at the different layers—in particular, hardware, virtualization, OS, and application.

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Exact Inference Techniques for the Dynamic Analysis of Attack Graphs

Attack graphs are a powerful tool for security risk assessment by analysing network vulnerabilities and the paths attackers can use to compromise valuable network resources. The uncertainty about the attacker’s behaviour and capabilities make Bayesian networks suitable to model attack graphs to perform static and dynamic analysis. Previous approaches have focused on the formalization of traditional attack graphs into a Bayesian model rather than proposing mechanisms for their analysis. In this paper we propose to use efficient algorithms to make exact inference in Bayesian attack graphs, enabling the static and dynamic network risk assessments. To support the validity of our proposed approach we have performed an extensive experimental evaluation on synthetic Bayesian attack graphs with different topologies, showing the computational advantages in terms of time and memory use of the proposed techniques when compared to existing approaches.

Luis Muñoz-González, Daniele Sgandurra, Martín Barrere, and Emil C. Lupu: Exact Inference Techniques for the Dynamic Analysis of Attack Graphs. arXiv preprint: arXiv:1510.02427. October, 2015.

Konstantina Spanaki

Konstantina joined Imperial College Business School as a Research Associate in 2014. Her main research interests focus on topics of IT adoption, business integration and information management. She worked on joint projects between this group and the Business School in particular on value aspects of data and adoption of cloud security services. Konstantina is now a Lecturer at School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University.