Addressing covert termination and timing channels in concurrent information flow systems

Deian Stefan, Alejandro Russo, Pablo Buiras, Amit Levy, John C. Mitchell, David Mazières

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

When termination of a program is observable by an adversary, confidential information may be leaked by terminating accordingly. While this termination covert channel has limited bandwidth for sequential programs, it is a more dangerous source of information leakage in concurrent settings. We address concurrent termination and timing channels by presenting a dynamic information-flow control system that mitigates and eliminates these channels while allowing termination and timing to depend on secret values. Intuitively, we leverage concurrency by placing such potentially sensitive actions in separate threads. While termination and timing of these threads may expose secret values, our system requires any thread observing these properties to raise its information-flow label accordingly, preventing leaks to lower-labeled contexts. We implement this approach in a Haskell library and demonstrate its applicability by building a web server that uses information-flow control to restrict untrusted web applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationICFP'12 - Proceedings of the 2012 ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming
Pages201-213
Number of pages13
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 22 2012
Externally publishedYes
Event17th ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming, ICFP 2012 - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: Sep 9 2012Sep 15 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming, ICFP

Other

Other17th ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming, ICFP 2012
CountryDenmark
CityCopenhagen
Period9/9/129/15/12

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software

Keywords

  • covert channels
  • library
  • monad

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  • Cite this

    Stefan, D., Russo, A., Buiras, P., Levy, A., Mitchell, J. C., & Mazières, D. (2012). Addressing covert termination and timing channels in concurrent information flow systems. In ICFP'12 - Proceedings of the 2012 ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming (pp. 201-213). (Proceedings of the ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming, ICFP). https://doi.org/10.1145/2364527.2364557