Towards Measurable and Tunable Security

University dissertation from Fakulteten för ekonomi, kommunikation och IT

Abstract: Many security services today only provides one security configuration at run-time, and cannot then utilize the trade-off between performance and security. In order to make use of this trade-off, tunable security services providing several security configurations that can be selected at run-time are needed. To be able to make intelligent choices on which security configuration to use for different situations we need to know how good they are, i.e., we need to order the different security configurations with respect to each security attribute using measures for both security and performance.However, a key issue with computer security is that it is due to its complex nature hard to measure.As the title of this thesis indicates, it discusses both security measures and tunable security services. Thus, it can be seen to consist of two parts. In the first part, discussing security measures for tunable security services, an investigation on the security implications of selective encryption by using guesswork as a security measure is made. Built on this an investigation of the relationship between guesswork and entropy. The result shows that guesswork,after a minor redefinition, is equal to the sum of the entropy and the relative entropy.The second part contributes to the area of tunable security services, e.g., services that provides several security configurations at run-time. In particular, we present the mobile Crowds (mCrowds) system,an anonymity technology for the mobile Internet developed at Karlstad University, and a tunable encryption service, that is based on a selective encryption paradigm and designed as a middleware. Finally, an investigation of the tunable features provided by Mix-Nets and Crowds are done, using a conceptual model for tunable security services.

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