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TWC:Small: Self-service Cloud Computing

Principal Investigator: 
Grant Agency: 
Grant Duration: 
10/01/2014 to 09/30/2017

Cloud computing poses significant risks to the security of client data. Virtual Machine Monitors (VMMs) that underlie cloud systems typically have all-powerful administrative domains that can be exploited or misused to snoop on client virtual machines (VMs) and steal/modify their data. Moreover, although virtual machine technology enables several novel security services that clients may wish to use, such services are privileged and must be implemented within the administrative domain.

This project develops the Self-service Cloud Computing (SSC) model to improve the security of client data. SSC employs privilege separation to reduce the privileges granted to the system-wide administrative domain, and expose new abstractions to clients that give them greater control over their VMs. Thus, SSC mitigates the impact of attacks directed on client VMs via the administrative domain, and allows clients to deploy security services on their own VMs.

SSC can have broad impact by ameliorating the threats to client data on the cloud, thus encouraging clients to move to the cloud. The concept of cloud app markets developed in this project is also likely to be of independent interest. The project also includes an educational component that will develop new cloud-related material for inclusion in graduate and undergraduate curricula.