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Computer Security Foundations. COS 597B Prof David Walker. Welcome!. Computer Security Foundations is for students interested in programming languages and how to apply them to solving systems security problems

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computer security foundations

Computer Security Foundations

COS 597B

Prof David Walker

  • Computer Security Foundations is for
    • students interested in programming languages and how to apply them to solving systems security problems
    • students interested in systems security problems and how to use programming languages to solve them
class style
Class Style
  • Some lectures given by me on technical topics
  • Some discussions of papers on security
    • class participation is important
  • Occasional 1-page writing assignment summarizing or critiquing a paper
  • You can take this course for software systems competency
  • It will be useful to have some background in logic or language semantics
    • Appel’s theorem proving class
    • Programming languages (COS 510 or 441)
  • If you have never taken such courses I recommend
    • Benjamin Pierce “types and programming languages”
    • Chapters 1-9 (approx 100 pages of fairly easy reading)
  • I will try to fill in background as I go
    • Next Monday, we will have a tutorial on this background material
topics of interest foundations
Topics of Interest: Foundations
  • what is security?
    • safety, liveness, secrecy, authenticity, integrity
  • what principles are available that help us build secure systems?
    • open design, economy of mechanism, minimal trusted computing base, etc
topics of interest language mechanisms
Topics of Interest: Language Mechanisms
  • dynamic program monitoring
    • theory: what kind of properties can we enforce?
    • practice: languages for writing program monitors
  • static program analysis
    • type systems for safe virtual machines
    • enforcing information flow properties
topics of interest logic and security
Topics of Interest: Logic and Security
  • specifying security properties logically
    • authentication logics
    • proof-carrying authorization
    • security for distributed logic programs
topics of interest cryptographic protocols
Topics of Interest:Cryptographic Protocols
  • Specification of cryptographic protocols
    • make assumptions about the power of cryptographic primitives
    • nothing about cryptography itself (see Ed’s course if you are interested in how cryptography works)
    • reasoning about cryptographic protocols using types
topics of interest current techniques
Topics of Interest:Current Techniques
  • Java security
    • class loaders, security managers, security policies for Java
    • stack inspection: what is it? How does it work? What kind of security does it really provide?
  • Program analysis and security
    • model checkers: how to analyze one million lines of code for security flaws!
    • language designs: CQual, Vault
  • Taking the course for a grade:
    • course project, final report: approx 50%
    • assignments, project progress reports, pop quizzes, class participation, class presentation: approx 50%
  • Not taking the course for grade:
    • reading and class participation
    • a presentation on a topic of interest
course project
Course Project
  • A substantial project involving programming languages and security in some fashion
    • work in pairs
    • once you get started: work steadily every week of the term (5-10 hours/week, perhaps more)
      • note: I deleted the journal idea
course project milestones
Course Project: Milestones
  • Sept 24: Form groups & pick area
  • Oct 8: analysis of related work
    • ~ 5-page analysis of related work
    • minimum 2 papers/person (hand-in a joint summary)
  • Nov 1: Progress Report I
    • ~ 5-page description of one component of the project
    • idea summary and justification, a partial formalization, a proof, a tool description and performance evaluation, a language design and justification, a software design and explanation etc
  • Nov 22: Progress Report II
    • ~ 5-page description of a second element of the work
  • Last month of class: Presentation on research in your area
    • assign 1 or 2 papers to the class to read; give a lecture and discuss
  • Jan 11, Deans date: Final submission
    • submit final report which includes introduction, problem description, technical accomplishments, any code, performance evaluation, related work, and summary
project ideas
Project Ideas
  • The course web site contains a list of project ideas and some papers you can read as starting points;
  • Feel free to choose an idea from the web site or try an idea of your own, possibly connected with other research in the department
  • Some of the projects mentioned on the web site are very open-ended.
    • identify small subgoals that can be accomplished each week or every two weeks
    • be sure to have multiple fall-back positions
    • plan realistically
example project
Example Project
  • Cryptographic programming in Jif:
    • Jif is a programming language based on Java equipped with a type system for detecting information-flow.
    • Learn about how Jif works, its features and semantics
    • Use Jif:
      • Design an interface to a cryptographic library using Jif's decentralized label model.
      • Use the resulting library to implement the cryptographic protocols used in a secure client-server setting.
    • Evaluate: What did you learn? Jif pros and cons?
  • Starting points on the projects page:
    • eg: Jif Homepage
example final project outline
Example Final Project Outline
  • Abstract
  • Section I: Introduction
    • Motivation (argument that makes the contributions seem inevitable!)- Information security is important.- Cryptographic primitives are crucial for network-based security.- Language-based security is practical way to increase confidence in security - Current support for cryptographic primitives in languages is not good.
    • Contributions- Design of a cryptographic library in Jif- Show how type system can encode desirable invariants- Investigation of event driven vs. threaded programs with information flow- Implementation of a (reasonably) substantial system using Jif
  • Section II: Background material
    • Jif and Decentralized Label Model- Important features (label abstraction, first-class principals, declassification, endorsement), syntax, semantics
    • Cryptographic operations
example final project outline1
Example Final Project Outline
  • Section III: Design of the Cryptographic Library
    • Problems: Keeping keys secret; Dependency between keys and encrypted values; Authentication information encoded in the types; Integrity Constraints in Jif
    • Solutions: Dynamic Principals; Label polymorphism; Fancy programming
  • Section IV: Evaluation of the Library
    • Description of the test case- Bank/ATM simulation with interesting authentication protocols- Taken from CSE331 course implementation
    • Implementation details/examples
    • Insights learned? Design choices you would have changed?
  • Section V: Related Work
  • Section VI: Conclusion
    • Summarize introduction
    • Reiterate contributions
other project topics
Other Project Topics
  • secure distributed programming & PlanetLab
    • implement a service for PlanetLab using an interesting programming model
      • tuple spaces (see Klaim for Java)
      • join calculus (see JoCaml)
      • distributed logic programming (see SD3, Sophia)
    • consider the security threats and the mechanisms necessary to compensate
    • implement a security monitoring service (as opposed to an arbitrary service)
other project topics1
Other Project Topics
  • security monitors
    • a security monitor watches a program, virtual machine or distributed system and interrupts the system when it detects a security violation
    • consider security monitors based on transactions
      • theory of what is enforceable in the transactional model
      • practice of implementing the system
    • consider concurrent or distributed security monitors
    • consider hardware/compiler support for parallelizing execution of security monitors with the mainline application
    • consider type-system support for making security monitors compose with one another; implement it in the context of Polymer
other project topics2
Other Project Topics
  • Verifying availability properties
    • recently, researchers have a great progress verifying cryptographic protocols and establishing authenticity & secrecy properties
      • Multi-set writing protocols (Cervesato et al.)
      • Types for protocols (Gordon & Jeffrey)
    • can we do the same for availability properties and developing robust distributed algorithms?
      • eg: can we developed techniques for verifying consensus and other group communication protocols? Under what failure models?
other project topics3
Other Project Topics
  • Study the effectiveness of security analysis tools
    • How do we evaluate security analysis tools to determine how effective they are?
    • What properties should they have?
    • What metrics can we use to analyze tools?
    • Can we develop a benchmark for testing these tools?
    • Take two or more existing tools and analyze them.
extend a programming language
Extend a programming language
  • Polymer is a compiler framework for extending Java
    • add some form of program monitors based on automata
    • add Cryptic-like support to Java for verifying cryptographic protocols
  • Binder is a logic-programming language with built-in secuiry
    • implement a linear-logic programming version of binder
other project topics4
Other Project Topics
  • information flow
    • consider tracking information flow in a unique programming model
      • tuple space model
      • distributed logic programming model
      • typed assembly language
other project topics5
Other Project Topics
  • Survey paper option
    • choose a relatively broad area and do an in-depth analysis of the research in the area
      • come up with a creative way to classify the work in the area
      • summarize the major contributions
      • determine the most important avenues for future research
    • focus on producing a particularly well-written report by working on multiple drafts
    • eg: software program monitors; hardware support for security; security in distributed programming models
other project topics6
Other Project Topics
  • Come up with a own topic related to your own research
  • Good topics may bridge gaps between areas
    • Networking & distributed programming
    • Algorithms for reliable computing and cryptography & languages to support their implementation or verification
    • Architecture or compilers to improve performance of security mechanisms
your job
Your Job
  • In the next two weeks, figure out who you want to work with and what general topic you want to work on
    • work with someone who has the same level of commitment to the course
    • cross-area partnerships can be a great idea (eg: PL person with a systems person or algorithms person)
    • visit the course web page for ideas; talk with your friends or other people in the department; skim a couple of papers
    • meet with me 22-24th of September
      • set up an appointment by e-mail