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Context-Sensitive Policy Based Security in Internet of Things

April 18th, 2016, by Tim Finin, posted in IoT, Policy, Semantic Web

Prajit Kumar Das, Sandeep Nair, Nitin Kumar Sharma, Anupam Joshi, Karuna Pande Joshi, and Tim Finin, Context-Sensitive Policy Based Security in Internet of Things, 1st IEEE Workshop on Smart Service Systems, co-located with IEEE Int. Conf. on Smart Computing, St. Louis, 18 May 2016.

According to recent media reports, there has been a surge in the number of devices that are being connected to the Internet. The Internet of Things (IoT), also referred to as Cyber-Physical Systems, is a collection of physical entities with computational and communication capabilities. The storage and computing power of these devices is often limited and their designs currently focus on ensuring functionality and largely ignore other requirements, including security and privacy concerns. We present the design of a framework that allows IoT devices to capture, represent, reason with, and enforce information sharing policies. We use Semantic Web technologies to represent the policies, the information to be shared or protected, and the IoT device context. We discuss use-cases where our design will help in creating an “intelligent” IoT device and ensuring data security and privacy using context-sensitive information sharing policies.

Policies For Oblivious Cloud Storage Using Semantic Web Technologies

April 3rd, 2016, by Tim Finin, posted in cybersecurity, Ontologies, OWL, RDF, Security, Semantic Web

Policies For Oblivious Cloud Storage
Using Semantic Web Technologies

Vaishali Narkhede
10:30am, Monday, 4 April 2016, ITE 346, UMBC

Consumers want to ensure that their enterprise data is stored securely and obliviously on the cloud, such that the data objects or their access patterns are not revealed to anyone, including the cloud provider, in the public cloud environment. We have created a detailed ontology describing the oblivious cloud storage models and role based access controls that should be in place to manage this risk. We have also implemented the ObliviCloudManager application that allows users to manage their cloud data using oblivious data structures. This application uses role based access control model and collection based document management to store and retrieve data efficiently. Cloud consumers can use our system to define policies for storing data obliviously and manage storage on untrusted cloud platforms, even if they are not familiar with the underlying technology and concepts of the oblivious data structure.

Down the rabbit hole: An Android system call study, 10:30am Mon 3/28

March 27th, 2016, by Tim Finin, posted in cybersecurity, Machine Learning, Mobile Computing, Security

Down the rabbit hole: An Android system call study

Prajit Kumar Das

10:30 am, Monday, March 28, 2016 ITE 346

App permissions and application sandboxing are the fundamental security mechanisms that protects user data on mobile platforms. We have worked on permission analytics before and come to a conclusion that just studying an app’s requested access rights (permissions) isn’t enough to understand potential data breaches. Techniques like privilege escalation have been previously used to gain further access to user and her data on mobile platforms like Android. Static code analysis and dynamic code execution may be studied to gather further insight into an app’s behavior. However, there is a need to study such a behavior at the lowest level of code execution and that is system calls. The system call is the fundamental interface between an application and the Linux kernel. In our current project, we are studying system calls made by apps for gathering a better understanding of their behavior.

Introduction to Microservices Architecture

March 19th, 2016, by Tim Finin, posted in Programming

Introduction to Microservices Architecture

Vladimir Korolev
10:30am 10:00-11:00am, Monday, March 21, 2016 ITE 346

Microservices is a new style of software architecture that relies on separately deployed loosely coupled components. Advantages of this architectural style are faster development cycles, better system resilience, smoother and easier scalability, and less friction with continuous deployment. In his talk Vlad Korolev will give overview of the architecture. Will show the way how to get started. And share personal experiences and gotchas encountered on several microservices based projects.

Detecting Botnets Using a Collaborative Situational-Aware IDPS

February 17th, 2016, by Tim Finin, posted in Ontologies, Security, Semantic Web

M. Lisa Mathews, Anupam Joshi and Tim Finin, Detecting Botnets Using a Collaborative Situational-Aware IDPS, 2nd Int. Conf. on Information Systems Security and Privacy, Rome, IT, February 2016

Botnet attacks turn susceptible victim computers into bots that perform various malicious activities while under the control of a botmaster. Some examples of the damage they cause include denial of service, click fraud, spamware, and phishing. These attacks can vary in the type of architecture and communication protocol used, which might be modified during the botnet lifespan. Intrusion detection and prevention systems are one way to safeguard the cyber-physical systems we use, but they have difficulty detecting new or modified attacks, including botnets. Only known attacks whose signatures have been identified and stored in some form can be discovered by most of these systems. Also, traditional IDPSs are point-based solutions incapable of utilizing information from multiple data sources and have difficulty discovering new or more complex attacks. To address these issues, we are developing a semantic approach to intrusion detection that uses a variety of sensors collaboratively. Leveraging information from these heterogeneous sources leads to a more robust, situational-aware IDPS that is better equipped to detect complicated attacks such as botnets.

Using Data Analytics to Detect Anomalous States in Vehicles

December 28th, 2015, by Tim Finin, posted in Big data, cybersecurity, Datamining, Machine Learning, Security


Sandeep Nair, Sudip Mittal and Anupam Joshi, Using Data Analytics to Detect Anomalous States in Vehicles, Technical Report, December 2015.

Vehicles are becoming more and more connected, this opens up a larger attack surface which not only affects the passengers inside vehicles, but also people around them. These vulnerabilities exist because modern systems are built on the comparatively less secure and old CAN bus framework which lacks even basic authentication. Since a new protocol can only help future vehicles and not older vehicles, our approach tries to solve the issue as a data analytics problem and use machine learning techniques to secure cars. We develop a hidden markov model to detect anomalous states from real data collected from vehicles. Using this model, while a vehicle is in operation, we are able to detect and issue alerts. Our model could be integrated as a plug-n-play device in all new and old cars.

Knowledge Extraction from Cloud Service Level Agreements

November 1st, 2015, by Tim Finin, posted in cloud computing, NLP, Policy

Sudip Mittal, Karuna Pande Joshi, Claudia Pearce, and Anupam Joshi, Parallelizing Natural Language Techniques for Knowledge Extraction from Cloud Service Level Agreements, IEEE International Conference on Big Data, October, 2015.

To efficiently utilize their cloud based services, consumers have to continuously monitor and manage the Service Level Agreements (SLA) that define the service performance measures. Currently this is still a time and labor intensive process since the SLAs are primarily stored as text documents. We have significantly automated the process of extracting, managing and monitoring cloud SLAs using natural language processing techniques and Semantic Web technologies. In this paper we describe our prototype system that uses a Hadoop cluster to extract knowledge from unstructured legal text documents. For this prototype we have considered publicly available SLA/terms of service documents of various cloud providers. We use established natural language processing techniques in parallel to speed up cloud legal knowledge base creation. Our system considerably speeds up knowledge base creation and can also be used in other domains that have unstructured data.

Are you in control or being controlled in your vehicle?

October 25th, 2015, by Tim Finin, posted in Pervasive Computing, Security

In this week’s ebiquity meeting (10:30am Monday, 26 October 2015 in ITE346 at UMBC), Sandeep Nair will talk about his research on securing the cyber-physical systems in modern vehicles.

Vehicles changed from being just mechanical devices which will just obey the commands to a smarter Sensor-ECU-Actuator systems which sense the surroundings and take necessary smart actions. A modern car has around forty to hundred different ECU’s, possibly communicating, to make intelligent decisions. But recently, there is a lot of buzz in the research community on hacking and taking control of vehicles. These literature describe and document the different ways to take control of vehicles. In this talk, we will first discuss what makes this kind of hacking possible? Then we will continue with different logical ways to do this and discuss some proposed mechanisms to protect it. We then propose a context aware mechanism which can detect these unsafe behaviors in the vehicle and describe the challenges associated with them.

talk: Is your personal data at risk? App analytics to the rescue

September 26th, 2015, by Tim Finin, posted in cybersecurity, Machine Learning, Privacy, Security

Is your personal data at risk?
App analytics to the rescue

Prajit Kumar Das

10:30am Monday, 28 September 28 2015, ITE346

According to Virustotal, a prominent virus and malware tool, the Google Play Store has a few thousand apps from major malware families. Given such a revelation, access control systems for mobile data management, have reached a state of critical importance. We propose the development of a system which would help us detect the pathways using which user’s data is being stolen from their mobile devices. We use a multi layered approach which includes app meta data analysis, understanding code patterns and detecting and eventually controlling dynamic data flow when such an app is installed on a mobile device. In this presentation we focus on the first part of our work and discuss the merits and flaws of our unsupervised learning mechanism to detect possible malicious behavior from apps in the Google Play Store.

talk: Attribute-based Fine Grained Access Control for Triple Stores

September 12th, 2015, by Tim Finin, posted in Security, Semantic Web


In the 14-09-2015 ebiquity meeting, Ankur Padia will talk about his recent work aimed at providing access control for an RDF triple store.

Attribute-based Fine Grained Access Control for Triple Stores

Ankur Padia, UMBC

The maturation of semantic web standards and associated web-based data representations like have made RDF a popular model for representing graph data and semi-structured knowledge. However, most existing SPARQL endpoint supports simple access control mechanism preventing its use for many applications. To protect the data stored in RDF stores, we describe a framework to support attribute-based fine grained access control and explore its feasibility. We implemented a prototype of the system and used it to carry out an initial analysis on the relation between access control policies, query execution time, and size of the RDF dataset.

For more information, see: Ankur Padia Tim Finin and Anupam Joshi, Attribute-based Fine Grained Access Control for Triple Stores, 3rd Society, Privacy and the Semantic Web – Policy and Technology workshop (PrivOn 2015), 14th Int. Semantic Web Conf., Oct. 2015.

Access control for a triplestore linked data fragments interface

April 19th, 2015, by Tim Finin, posted in OWL, Privacy, RDF, Security, Semantic Web

In this week’s meeting (10-11am Tue, April 21), Ankur Padia will present work in progress on providing access control to an RDF triple store.

Triple store access control for a linked data fragments interface
Ankur Padia, UMBC

The maturation of Semantic Web standards and associated web-based data representations such as have made RDF a popular model for representing graph data and semi-structured knowledge. Triple stores are used to store and query an RDF dataset and often expose a SPARQL endpoint service on the Web for public access. Most existing SPARQL endpoints support very simple access control mechanisms if any at all, preventing their use for many applications where fine-grained privacy or data security is important. We describe new work on access control for a linked data fragments interface, i.e. one that accepts queries consisting one or more triple patterns and responds with all matching triples that the authenticated querier can access.

Preventing SQLIA and OJVMWCU, a web service utility for Oracle RDBMS

April 6th, 2015, by Tim Finin, posted in Security

In this week’s meeting, Sandeep Nair will talk about his work on ‘Preventing SQLIA and OJVMWCU, a web service utility for Oracle RDBMS‘ at 10:00am Tuesday, 7 April 2015 in ITE 346.

SQL Injection attacks have a long history dating back to 1999, but OWASP still maintains Injection attacks, which includes SQLIA, as the top rated vulnerability, due to the simplicity to perform and the high impact it can cause. SIAP is a project aimed at an automated attempt to secure ASP .NET with C# based web applications. The second tool OjvmWCU is a tool which is released with Oracle RDBMS 12.1, which allows users to call SOAP based web services using PLSQL!

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