Tech Talk: Building Systems That Enforce Measurable Security Goals

  • Date  Time
  • Speaker
  • Location

The September 18th Galois Tech Talk will be delivered by Trent Jaeger, titled “Building Systems That Enforce Measurable Security Goals.”[Note the non-standard Friday date; instead of the usual Tuesday slot!]

  • Date: Friday, September 18th, 2009
  • Time: 10:30am – 11:30am
  • Location: Galois, Inc.421 SW 6th Ave. Suite 300(3rd floor of the Commonwealth Building)Portland, OR 97204

The slides for this talk are now available.Abstract: In this talk, I will argue for an approach for building and deploying systems that enforce measurable security goals. Historically, the security community has developed “ideal” goals for security, but conventional systems are not built to satisfy such goals, leading to vulnerabilities. However, we find that building conventional systems to ideal security goals is not a practical option. Ideal security requires heavyweight tasks, such as complete formal assurance, and conventional systems depend on security enforcement in too many programs to make assurance cost-effective. As an alternative, we propose an approach where we use ideal goals as a means to gain a comprehensive understanding of which programs we depend upon for security enforcement and the risks that result from such enforcement. The result is a model that enables comprehensive evaluation of security goals and treatment of risks, once identified. In this talk, I will discuss the motivation for our approach in the development of a practical integrity model, called CW-Lite integrity. Then, I will describe two further experiments. The first examines whether user-level processes can be automatically deployed in a manner in which correct enforcement of system policy can be verified. The second examines whether virtual machine systems can be deployed in a manner in which integrity goals can be determined and verified. In these experiments, we leverage the mandatory access control enforcement of the Linux and Xen, although the talk will focus on the conceptual problems in obtaining a comprehensive view of security in conventional systems. The result of these experiments is that by making security goals measurable in conventional systems a comprehensive view of security can be obtained that enables the solution of key problems in building and deploying secure systems.Bio:Trent Jaeger received his M.S.E. and Ph.D degrees in computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1993 and 1997, respectively. Trent joined the Computer Science and Engineering department at Penn State in 2005. He is co-director of the Systems and Internet Infrastructure Security (SIIS) Lab at Penn State. Prior to joining Penn State, he was a research staff member at IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center for nine years.His research/teaching interests are in the areas of computer security, operating systems, security policies, and source code analysis for security. Trent has been active in the Linux community for several years, particularly in contributing code and tools for the Linux Security Modules (LSM) framework (in Linux 2.6) and for integrating the SELinux/LSM with IPsec (called Labeled IPsec, available in Linux 2.6.18 and above). Trent also has active interests in virtual machine systems (mostly Xen) and trusted computing hardware (Linux Integrity Measurement Architecture and its successor PRIMA).He is also active in the security research community at large, having served on the program committees of many of the major security conferences, including the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, USENIX Security Symposium, ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, Annual Computer Security Applications Conference, ISOC Network and Distributed Systems Symposium. Trent has been Program Chair of the ACM Symposium on Access Control Models and Technologies and the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (Industry Track). He is the current Program Chair for the 2007 USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Security. He has over 60 refereed publications, and is the holder of several U.S. patents.

Galois has been holding weekly technical seminars for several years on topics from functional programming, formal methods, compiler and language design, to cryptography, and operating system construction, with talks by many figures from the programming language and formal methods communities. The talks are open and free. An RSVP is not required, but feel free to contact the organizer with questions and comments.