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Architecture-Based Self-Protecting Software Systems

Eric Yuan, Sam Malek, Bradley Schmerl, David Garlan and Jeffrey Gennari.

In Proceedings of the Ninth International ACM Sigsoft Conference on the Quality of Software Architectures (QoSA 2013), Pages 33-42, 17-21 June 2013. DOI: 10.1145/2465478.2465479.

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Since conventional software security approaches are often manually developed and statically deployed, they are no longer sufficient against today's sophisticated and evolving cyber security threats. This has motivated the development of self-protecting software that is capable of detecting security threats and mitigating them through runtime adaptation techniques. In this paper, we argue for an architecture-based self- protection (ABSP) approach to address this challenge. In ABSP, detection and mitigation of security threats are informed by an architectural representation of the running system, maintained at runtime. With this approach, it is possible to reason about the impact of a potential security breach on the system, assess the overall security posture of the system, and achieve defense in depth. To illustrate the effectiveness of this approach, we present several architecture adaptation patterns that provide reusable detection and mitigation strategies against well-known web application security threats. Finally, we describe our ongoing work in realizing these patterns on top of Rainbow, an existing architecture-based adaptation framework.

Keywords: Rainbow, Science of Security, Self-adaptation.  
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