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Malware tolerance: Distributing trust over multiple devices

Denzel, Michael (2018)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

Current security solutions try to keep the adversary out of the computer infrastructure. However, with zero-day exploits and certain rootkit attacks, the assumption that attacks can be blocked does not hold any more.
This work presents the concept of malware tolerance accepting that every device might be compromised at some point in time. The concept aims to distribute trust over several devices so that no single device is able to compromise security features by itself.

I create three malware-tolerant techniques to demonstrate the feasibility of the concept. This thesis introduces a trusted input system which delivers keystrokes securely from the keyboard to a recipient even if one of its components is compromised. The second approach is the design of a self-healing Industrial Control System, a sensor-actuator network to securely control a physical system. If an adversary manages to compromise one of the components, it remains secure and can even recover from attacks. Lastly, this thesis proposes a mesh network architecture aimed at smart-home networks without assuming any device in the network invulnerable to attacks applying isolation mechanisms to otherwise flat mesh networks.

This thesis gives formal security proofs with protocol verifier ProVerif. The proof scripts are open-source.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Ryan, Mark
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Department:School of Computer Science
Additional Information:

M. Denzel, A. Bruni, and M. D. Ryan. Smart-Guard: Defending User Input from Malware. In Intl IEEE Conf. on Advanced and Trusted Computing, pages 502–509. IEEE, 2016.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/UIC-ATC-ScalCom-CBDCom-IoP-SmartWorld.2016.0089

M. Denzel, M. Ryan, and E. Ritter. A Malware-Tolerant, Self-Healing Industrial Control System Framework. In IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology ICT Systems Security and Privacy Protection, volume 502. Springer, 2017.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-58469-0_4

Subjects:QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
QA76 Computer software
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:8422
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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