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J. Cybersecur. Priv., Volume 4, Issue 2 (June 2024) – 9 articles

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16 pages, 258 KiB  
Article
Understanding and Classifying Permanent Denial-of-Service Attacks
by Stanislav Abaimov
J. Cybersecur. Priv. 2024, 4(2), 324-339; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcp4020016 - 11 May 2024
Viewed by 306
Abstract
In the evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats, permanent denial-of-service (PDoS) attacks have emerged as a particularly damaging form of cyber aggression. Unlike the more well-known denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, which disrupt services temporarily, PDoS attacks aim to inflict irreversible damage to systems, often resulting [...] Read more.
In the evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats, permanent denial-of-service (PDoS) attacks have emerged as a particularly damaging form of cyber aggression. Unlike the more well-known denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, which disrupt services temporarily, PDoS attacks aim to inflict irreversible damage to systems, often resulting in significant system overhauls and requiring hardware replacement. To enable the development of effective security measures, but also to address the knowledge gaps, this paper presents an in-depth exploration of PDoS attacks, emphasizing their distinguishing characteristics, underlying mechanisms, and potential further development. Through a comprehensive case study, this research highlights diverse tactics and strategies employed by attackers, from targeting IoT devices to manipulating boot processes and exploiting firmware vulnerabilities. A novel classification of PDoS attack vectors is proposed that also explains the ways in which the systems can be compromised. The findings confirm the pressing need for adaptive and robust defense mechanisms to mitigate the threats posed by PDoS attacks in our interconnected digital world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Trends and Prospects in Security, Encryption and Encoding)
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26 pages, 675 KiB  
Article
A Usable Encryption Solution for File-Based Geospatial Data within a Database File System
by Pankajeshwara Sharma, Michael Govorov and Michael Martin
J. Cybersecur. Priv. 2024, 4(2), 298-323; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcp4020015 - 9 May 2024
Viewed by 377
Abstract
Developing a security solution for spatial files within today’s enterprise Geographical Information System (GIS) that is also usable presents a multifaceted challenge. These files exist in “data silos” of different file server types, resulting in limited collaboration and increased vulnerability. While cloud-based data [...] Read more.
Developing a security solution for spatial files within today’s enterprise Geographical Information System (GIS) that is also usable presents a multifaceted challenge. These files exist in “data silos” of different file server types, resulting in limited collaboration and increased vulnerability. While cloud-based data storage offers many benefits, the associated security concerns have limited its uptake in GIS, making it crucial to explore comparable alternative security solutions that can be deployed on-premise and are also usable. This paper introduces a reasonably usable security solution for spatial files within collaborative enterprise GIS. We explore a Database File System (DBFS) as a potential repository to consolidate and manage spatial files based on its enterprise document management capabilities and security features inherited from the underlying legacy DBMS. These files are protected using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm with practical encryption times of 8 MB per second. The final part focuses on an automated encryption solution with schemes for single- and multi-user files that is compatible with various GIS programs and protocol services. Usability testing is carried out to assess the solution’s usability and focuses on effectiveness, efficiency, and user satisfaction, with the results demonstrating its usability based on the minimal changes it makes to how users work in a collaborative enterprise GIS environment. The solution furnishes a viable means for consolidating and protecting spatial files with various formats at the storage layer within enterprise GIS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Usable Security)
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20 pages, 2825 KiB  
Article
Passwordless Authentication Using a Combination of Cryptography, Steganography, and Biometrics
by Tunde Oduguwa and Abdullahi Arabo
J. Cybersecur. Priv. 2024, 4(2), 278-297; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcp4020014 - 1 May 2024
Viewed by 434
Abstract
User-generated passwords often pose a security risk in authentication systems. However, providing a comparative substitute poses a challenge, given the common tradeoff between security and user experience. This paper integrates cryptographic methods (both asymmetric and symmetric), steganography, and a combination of physiological and [...] Read more.
User-generated passwords often pose a security risk in authentication systems. However, providing a comparative substitute poses a challenge, given the common tradeoff between security and user experience. This paper integrates cryptographic methods (both asymmetric and symmetric), steganography, and a combination of physiological and behavioural biometrics to construct a prototype for a passwordless authentication system. We demonstrate the feasibility of scalable passwordless authentication while maintaining a balance between usability and security. We employ threat modeling techniques to pinpoint the security prerequisites for the system, along with choosing appropriate cryptographic protocols. In addition, a comparative analysis is conducted, examining the security impacts of the proposed system in contrast to that of traditional password-based systems. The results from the prototype indicate that authentication is possible within a timeframe similar to passwords (within 2 s), without imposing additional hardware costs on users to enhance security or compromising usability. Given the scalable nature of the system design and the elimination of shared secrets, the financial and efficiency burdens associated with password resets are alleviated. Furthermore, the risk of breaches is mitigated as there is no longer a need to store passwords and/or their hashes. Differing from prior research, our study presents a pragmatic design and prototype that deserves consideration as a viable alternative for both password-based and passwordless authentication systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyber Security and Digital Forensics)
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14 pages, 5231 KiB  
Article
Facilitating the Integrative Use of Security Knowledge Bases within a Modelling Environment
by Avi Shaked
J. Cybersecur. Priv. 2024, 4(2), 264-277; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcp4020013 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 442
Abstract
Security threat and risk assessment of systems requires the integrated use of information from multiple knowledge bases. Such use is typically carried out ad-hoc by security experts in an unstructured manner. Also, this ad-hoc use of information often lacks foundations that allow for [...] Read more.
Security threat and risk assessment of systems requires the integrated use of information from multiple knowledge bases. Such use is typically carried out ad-hoc by security experts in an unstructured manner. Also, this ad-hoc use of information often lacks foundations that allow for rigorous, disciplined applications of policy enforcement and the establishment of a well-integrated body of knowledge. This hinders organisational learning as well as the maturation of the threat modelling discipline. In this article, we uncover a newly developed extension of a state-of-the-art modelling tool that allows users to integrate and curate security-related information from multiple knowledge bases. Specifically, we provide catalogues of threats and security controls based on information from CAPEC, ATT&CK, and NIST SP800-53. We demonstrate the ability to curate security information using the designed solution. We highlight the contribution to improving the communication of security information, including the systematic mapping between user-defined security guidance and information derived from knowledge bases. The solution is open source and relies on model-to-model transformations and extendable threat and security control catalogues. Accordingly, the solution allows prospective users to adapt the modelling environment to their needs as well as keep it current with respect to evolving knowledge bases. Full article
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23 pages, 3062 KiB  
Article
Data-Driven Network Anomaly Detection with Cyber Attack and Defense Visualization
by Eric Muhati and Danda Rawat
J. Cybersecur. Priv. 2024, 4(2), 241-263; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcp4020012 - 9 Apr 2024
Viewed by 745
Abstract
The exponential growth in data volumes, combined with the inherent complexity of network algorithms, has drastically affected network security. Data activities are producing voluminous network logs that often mask critical vulnerabilities. Although there are efforts to address these hidden vulnerabilities, the solutions often [...] Read more.
The exponential growth in data volumes, combined with the inherent complexity of network algorithms, has drastically affected network security. Data activities are producing voluminous network logs that often mask critical vulnerabilities. Although there are efforts to address these hidden vulnerabilities, the solutions often come at high costs or increased complexities. In contrast, the potential of open-source tools, recognized for their security analysis capabilities, remains under-researched. These tools have the potential for detailed extraction of essential network components, and they strengthen network security. Addressing this gap, our paper proposes a data analytics-driven network anomaly detection model, which is uniquely complemented with a visualization layer, making the dynamics of cyberattacks and their subsequent defenses distinctive in near real-time. Our novel approach, based on network scanning tools and network discovery services, allows us to visualize the network based on how many IP-based networking devices are live, then we implement a data analytics-based intrusion detection system that scrutinizes all network connections. We then initiate mitigation measures, visually distinguishing malicious from benign connections using red and blue hues, respectively. Our experimental evaluation shows an F1 score of 97.9% and a minimal false positive rate of 0.3% in our model, demonstrating a marked improvement over existing research in this domain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intrusion, Malware Detection and Prevention in Networks)
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18 pages, 30221 KiB  
Article
Trustworthiness of Situational Awareness: Significance and Quantification
by Arslan Munir, Alexander Aved, Khanh Pham and Joonho Kong
J. Cybersecur. Priv. 2024, 4(2), 223-240; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcp4020011 - 8 Apr 2024
Viewed by 546
Abstract
Situational awareness (SA) is of tremendous significance for successful operations in many domains, such as surveillance, humanitarian, search, and rescue missions, and national security. SA is particularly important for the defense sector, and is regarded as the decisive factor in military and air [...] Read more.
Situational awareness (SA) is of tremendous significance for successful operations in many domains, such as surveillance, humanitarian, search, and rescue missions, and national security. SA is particularly important for the defense sector, and is regarded as the decisive factor in military and air combat engagements. Commanders and operators rely on the accuracy and fidelity of SA for comprehending the environment, decision-making, and carrying out actions based on these decisions for accomplishing a mission. SA, however, is susceptible to adversarial attacks that can compromise the security and trust of SA systems. In this paper, we discuss the significance of security and trust of SA from an air force perspective. We then propose a model for quantifying the trustworthiness of an SA system. We further present numerical examples that demonstrate the quantification of trustworthiness of an SA system using our proposed model. Finally, we conclude this paper with future research directions for quantifying the security of SA systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Security Engineering & Applications)
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27 pages, 1633 KiB  
Article
A Blockchain-Based Decentralized Public Key Infrastructure Using the Web of Trust
by Ratna Halder, Dipanjan Das Roy and Dongwan Shin
J. Cybersecur. Priv. 2024, 4(2), 196-222; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcp4020010 - 31 Mar 2024
Viewed by 649
Abstract
Internet applications rely on Secure Socket Layer (SSL)/Transport Security Layer (TSL) certifications to establish secure communication. However, the centralized nature of certificate authorities (CAs) poses a risk, as malicious third parties could exploit the CA to issue fake certificates to malicious web servers, [...] Read more.
Internet applications rely on Secure Socket Layer (SSL)/Transport Security Layer (TSL) certifications to establish secure communication. However, the centralized nature of certificate authorities (CAs) poses a risk, as malicious third parties could exploit the CA to issue fake certificates to malicious web servers, potentially compromising the privacy and integrity of user data. In this paper, we demonstrate how the utilization of decentralized certificate verification with blockchain technology can effectively address and mitigate such attacks. We present a decentralized public key infrastructure (PKI) based on a distributed trust model, e.g., Web of Trust (WoT) and blockchain technologies, to overcome vulnerabilities like single points of failure and to prevent tampering with existing certificates. In addition, our infrastructure establishes a trusted key-ring network that decouples the authentication process from CAs in order to enhance secure certificate issuance and accelerate the revocation process. Furthermore, as a proof of concept, we present the implementation of our proposed system in the Ethereum blockchain, confirming that the proposed framework meets the five identified requirements. Our experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed system in practice, albeit with additional overhead compared to conventional PKIs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intrusion, Malware Detection and Prevention in Networks)
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29 pages, 563 KiB  
Article
On Data Leakage Prevention Maturity: Adapting the C2M2 Framework
by Jan Domnik and Alexander Holland
J. Cybersecur. Priv. 2024, 4(2), 167-195; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcp4020009 - 30 Mar 2024
Viewed by 834
Abstract
In an evolving cybersecurity landscape marked by escalating data breaches and regulatory demands, data leakage prevention (DLP) has emerged as one of several defense mechanisms. This study underscores unresolved foundational issues within DLP, revealing that it remains a significant challenge in large organizations. [...] Read more.
In an evolving cybersecurity landscape marked by escalating data breaches and regulatory demands, data leakage prevention (DLP) has emerged as one of several defense mechanisms. This study underscores unresolved foundational issues within DLP, revealing that it remains a significant challenge in large organizations. This highlights the necessity for a holistic approach to DLP to effectively address these persistent challenges. By developing a DLP Maturity Model, adapted from the renowned C2M2 framework, this research provides a comprehensive tool for assessing organizational DLP capabilities and pinpointing critical gaps. Applying the DLP Maturity Model within the financial sector as demonstrated through a banking scenario showcases its relevance and added value. This application illuminates the model’s effectiveness in securing sensitive data and adhering to essential regulatory standards, highlighting its adaptability across various compliance landscapes. Implementing this DLP Maturity Model in a banking scenario showcases its applicability, highlighting its ability to formulate a strategy to secure sensitive data and comply with regulatory standards. This approach aligns with the concept of a continuous risk-based strategy, merging the holistic model to identify and address critical insider risks within organizations. The study addresses a specific gap in DLP research, notably the lack of a holistic framework for assessing and enhancing DLP strategies across organizations. It equips practitioners with a foundational tool to determine current DLP maturity and devise strategies for mitigating insider-driven data breach risks, thereby bolstering organizational cybersecurity resilience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyber Security and Digital Forensics)
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14 pages, 911 KiB  
Article
ScriptBlock Smuggling: Uncovering Stealthy Evasion Techniques in PowerShell and .NET Environments
by Anthony J. Rose, Scott R. Graham, Christine M. Schubert Kabban, Jacob J. Krasnov and Wayne C. Henry
J. Cybersecur. Priv. 2024, 4(2), 153-166; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcp4020008 - 25 Mar 2024
Viewed by 765
Abstract
The Antimalware Scan Interface (AMSI) plays a crucial role in detecting malware within Windows operating systems. This paper presents ScriptBlock Smuggling, a novel evasion and log spoofing technique exploiting PowerShell and .NET environments to circumvent the AMSI. By focusing on the manipulation of [...] Read more.
The Antimalware Scan Interface (AMSI) plays a crucial role in detecting malware within Windows operating systems. This paper presents ScriptBlock Smuggling, a novel evasion and log spoofing technique exploiting PowerShell and .NET environments to circumvent the AMSI. By focusing on the manipulation of ScriptBlocks within the Abstract Syntax Tree (AST), this method creates dual AST representations, one for compiler execution and another for antivirus and log analysis, enabling the evasion of AMSI detection and challenging traditional memory patching bypass methods. This research provides a detailed analysis of PowerShell’s ScriptBlock creation and its inherent security features and pinpoints critical limitations in the AMSI’s capabilities to scrutinize ScriptBlocks and the implications of log spoofing as part of this evasion method. The findings highlight potential avenues for attackers to exploit these vulnerabilities, suggesting the possibility of a new class of AMSI bypasses and their use for log spoofing. In response, this paper proposes a synchronization strategy for ASTs, intended to unify the compilation and malware scanning processes to reduce the threat surfaces in PowerShell and .NET environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intrusion, Malware Detection and Prevention in Networks)
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