Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
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Section: New Results

Other topics related to security and distributed computing

Network monitoring and fault detection

Monitoring a system consists in collecting and analyzing relevant information provided by the monitored devices, so as to be continuously aware of the system state (situational awareness). However, the ever growing complexity and scale of systems makes both real time monitoring and fault detection a quite tedious task. Thus the usually adopted option is to focus solely on a subset of information states, so as to provide coarse-grained indicators. As a consequence, detecting isolated failures or anomalies is a quite challenging issue. We propose in [23] , [42] to address this issue by pushing the monitoring task at the edge of the network. We present a peer-to-peer based architecture, which enables nodes to adaptively and efficiently self-organize according to their ”health” indicators. By exploiting both temporal and spatial correlations that exist between a device and its vicinity, our approach guarantees that only isolated anomalies (an anomaly is isolated if it impacts solely a monitored device) are reported on the fly to the network operator. We show that the end-to-end detection process, i.e., from the local detection to the management operator reporting, requires a logarithmic number of messages in the size of the network.

Secure data deduplication scheme

Data grows at the impressive rate of 50% per year, and 75% of the digital world is a copy (The digital universe decade. Are you ready? John Gantz and David Reinsel, IDC information, may 2010.). Although keeping multiple copies of data is necessary to guarantee their availability and long term durability, in many situations the amount of data redundancy is immoderate. By keeping a single copy of repeated data, data deduplication is considered as one of the most promising solutions to reduce the storage costs, and improve users experience by saving network bandwidth and reducing backup time. However, this solution must now solve many security issues to be completely satisfying. In this paper we target the attacks from malicious clients that are based on the manipulation of data identifiers and those based on backup time and network traffic observation. In [43] , we have presented a deduplication scheme mixing an intra-and an inter-user deduplication in order to build a storage system that is secure against the aforementioned type of attacks by controlling the correspondence between files and their identifiers, and making the inter-user deduplication unnoticeable to clients using deduplication proxies. Our method provides global storage space savings, per-client bandwidth network savings between clients and deduplication proxies, and global network bandwidth savings between deduplication proxies and the storage server. The evaluation of our solution compared to a classic system shows that the overhead introduced by our scheme is mostly due to data encryption which is necessary to ensure confidentiality. This work relies on Mistore [44] , [45] , a distributed storage system aiming at guaranteeing data availability, durability, low access latency by leveraging the Digital Subscriber Line infrastructure of an ISP. Mistore uses the available storage resources of a large number of home gateways and points of presence for content storage and caching facilities reducing the role of the data center to a load balancer. Mistore also targets data consistency by providing multiple types of consistency criteria on content and a versioning system allowing users to get access to any prior versions of their contents.

Metrics estimation on very large data streams

In [12] , we consider the setting of large scale distributed systems, in which each node needs to quickly process a huge amount of data received in the form of a stream that may have been tampered with by an adversary (i.e., data items ordering can be manipulated by an oblivious adversary). In this situation, a fundamental problem is how to detect and quantify the amount of work performed by the adversary. To address this issue, we propose AnKLe (for Attack-tolerant eNhanced Kullback- Leibler divergence Estimator), a novel algorithm for estimating the KL divergence of an observed stream compared to the expected one. AnKLe combines sampling techniques and information-theoretic methods. It is very efficient, both in terms of space and time complexities, and requires only a single pass over the data stream. Experimental results show that the estimation provided by AnKLe remains accurate even for different adversarial settings for which the quality of other methods dramatically decreases. Considering n as the number of distinct data items in a stream, we show that AnKLe is an (ε,δ)-approximation algorithm with a space complexity sublinear in the size of the domain value from which data items are drawn and the maximal stream length.

We go a step further by proposing in [22] a metric, called codeviation, that allows to evaluate the correlation between distributed streams. This metric is inspired from classical metric in statistics and probability theory, and as such allows us to understand how observed quantities change together, and in which proportion. We then propose to estimate the codeviation in the data stream model. In this model, functions are estimated on a huge sequence of data items, in an online fashion, and with a very small amount of memory with respect to both the size of the input stream and the values domain from which data items are drawn. We give upper and lower bounds on the quality of the codeviation, and provide both local and distributed algorithms that additively approximates the codeviation among n data streams by using a sublinear number of bits of space in the size of the domain value from which data items are drawn and the maximal stream length. To the best of our knowledge, such a metric has never been proposed so far.

Robustness analysis of large scale distributed systems

In the continuation of  [59] which proposed an in-depth study of the dynamicity and robustness properties of large-scale distributed systems, we analyze in [13] , the behavior of a stochastic system composed of several identically distributed, but non independent, discrete-time absorbing Markov chains competing at each instant for a transition. The competition consists in determining at each instant, using a given probability distribution, the only Markov chain allowed to make a transition. We analyze the first time at which one of the Markov chains reaches its absorbing state. When the number of Markov chains goes to infinity, we analyze the asymptotic behavior of the system for an arbitrary probability mass function governing the competition. We give conditions for the existence of the asymptotic distribution and we show how these results apply to cluster-based distributed systems when the competition between the Markov chains is handled by using a geometric distribution.

Detection of distributed denial-of-service attacks

A Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack tries to progressively take down an Internet resource by flooding this resource with more requests than it is capable to handle. A Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack is a DoS attack triggered by thousands of machines that have been infected by a malicious software, with as immediate consequence the total shut down of targeted web resources (e.g., e-commerce websites). A solution to detect and to mitigate DDoS attacks it to monitor network traffic at routers and to look for highly frequent signatures that might suggest ongoing attacks. A recent strategy followed by the attackers is to hide their massive flow of requests over a multitude of routes, so that locally, these flows do not appear as frequent, while globally they represent a significant portion of the network traffic. The term “iceberg” has been recently introduced to describe such an attack as only a very small part of the iceberg can be observed from each single router. The approach adopted to defend against such new attacks is to rely on multiple routers that locally monitor their network traffic, and upon detection of potential icebergs, inform a monitoring server that aggregates all the monitored information to accurately detect icebergs. To prevent the server from being overloaded by all the monitored information, routers continuously keep track of the c (among n) most recent high flows (modeled as items) prior to sending them to the server, and throw away all the items that appear with a small probability pi, and such that the sum of these small probabilities is modeled by probability p0. Parameter c is dimensioned so that the frequency at which all the routers send their c last frequent items is low enough to enable the server to aggregate all of them and to trigger a DDoS alarm when needed. This amounts to compute the time needed to collect c distinct items among n frequent ones. A thorough analysis of the time needed to collect c distinct items appears in [53] .

Randomized message-passing test-and-set

In [56] , we have presented a solution to the well-known Test&Set operation in an asynchronous system prone to process crashes. Test&Set is a synchronization operation that, when invoked by a set of processes, returns yes to a unique process and returns no to all the others. Recently many advances in implementing Test&Set objects have been achieved, however all of them target the shared memory model. In this paper we propose an implementation of a Test&Set object in the message passing model. This implementation can be invoked by any number p<n of processes in which n is the total number of processes in the system. It has an expected individual step complexity in O(logp) against an oblivious adversary, and an expected individual message complexity in O(n). The proposed Test&Set object is built atop a new basic building block, called selector, that allows to select a winning group among two groups of processes. We propose a message-passing implementation of the selector whose step complexity is constant. We are not aware of any other implementation of the Test&Set operation in the message passing model.

Agreement problems in unreliable systems

In [18] , we consider the problem of approximate consensus in mobile ad-hoc networks in the presence of Byzantine nodes. Each node begins to participate by providing a real number called its initial value. Eventually all correct nodes must obtain final values that are different from each other within a maximum value previously defined (convergence property) and must be in the range of initial values proposed by the correct nodes (validity property). Due to nodes' mobility, the topology is dynamic and unpredictable. We propose an approximate Byzantine consensus protocol which is based on the linear iteration method. Each node repeatedly executes rounds. During a round, a node moves to a new location, broadcasts its current value, gathers values from its neighbors, and possibly updates its value. In our protocol, nodes are allowed to collect information during several consecutive rounds: thus moving gives them the opportunity to gather progressively enough values. An integer parameter Rc is used to define the maximal number of rounds during which values can be gathered and stored while waiting to be used. A novel sufficient and necessary condition guarantees the final convergence of the consensus protocol. At each stage of the computation, a single correct node is concerned by the requirement expressed by this new condition (the condition is not universal as it is the case in all previous related works). Moreover the condition considers both the topology and the values proposed by correct nodes. If less than one third of the nodes are faulty, the condition can be satisfied. We are working on mobility scenarios (random trajectories, predefined trajectories, meeting points) to assert that the condition can be satisfied for reasonable values of Rc. In [41] , we extend the above protocol to solve the problem of clock synchronization in mobile ad-hoc networks.

In [20] , we investigate the use of agreement protocols to develop transactional mobile agents. Mobile devices are now equipped with multiple sensors and networking capabilities. They can gather information about their surrounding environment and interact both with nearby nodes, using a dynamic and self-configurable ad-hoc network, and with distant nodes via the Internet. While the concept of mobile agent is appropriate to explore the ad-hoc network and autonomously discover service providers, it is not suitable for the implementation of strong distributed synchronization mechanisms. Moreover, the termination of a task assigned to an agent may be compromised if the persistence of the agent itself is not ensured. In the case of a transactional mobile agent, we identify two services, Availability of the Sources and Atomic Commit, that can be supplied by more powerful entities located in a cloud. We propose a solution in which these two services are provided in a reliable and homogeneous way. To guarantee reliability, the proposed solution relies on a single agreement protocol that orders continuously all the new actions whatever the related transaction and service.