[talks] 11am talk today on secure provenance in distributed systems in room 402

Jennifer Rexford jrex at CS.Princeton.EDU
Mon Dec 12 09:37:28 EST 2011

Speaker: Wenchao Zhou, U. Penn
Title: Secure Provenance in Distributed Systems
Date/time: 11am-noon Monday December 12
Room: 402


Operators of distributed systems often find themselves needing to answer
forensic questions, to perform a variety of managerial tasks including fault
detection, system debugging, accountability enforcement, and attack analysis.
In this talk, we present Secure Provenance, a novel approach that provides the
fundamental functionality required for answering such forensic questions -- the
capability to "explain'' the existence (or change) of a certain distributed
system state at a given time in a potentially adversarial environment.

We show that it is both possible and practical to efficiently and scalably
maintain and query provenance in a distributed fashion, where provenance
maintenance and querying are modeled as recursive continuous queries over
distributed relations. We then propose enhancements to the provenance model
that allow operators to reliably query provenance information in adversarial
environments. Our extensions incorporate tamper-evident properties which
provide the guarantee that operators can eventually detect the presence of
compromised nodes that lie or falsely implicate correct nodes. Finally, we
present ongoing efforts that consider privacy protection of sensitive
information in provenance maintenance and querying, and discuss our work in the
context of our longer term vision towards provably secure distributed systems.

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