System to defend against uncertain cyber threats in real-time networks and cloud environments

Date
2016
Authors
Collins, James Christopher
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Volume Title
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Abstract

The ISO/OSI open systems protocol model that is used to implement the Internet, cloud services, and local area network data exchanges has had the unintended consequence of making this complex system and its connected devices vulnerable to a wide range of cyber threats. These threats can include malicious software, spy software, computer worms, computer viruses, Trojan infected software, covert communications channels, and a host of other unknown or uncertain malfeasant activities that target and exploit this open connected system at every level. This research dissertation explores the TCP/IP communication mode, the resultant vulnerabilities of internetworked systems, and introduces an innovative approach to protect and defend against uncertain cyber threats in this domain.

Under this research, we have developed a specialized cyber defense system designed to operate in the TCP/IP network environment. Our security system interacts with real-time network data exchanges to preempt both known and uncertain cyber exploits directed against networked connected devices. The system is selectively instantiated using specialized data driven content modification algorithms that operate, in real-time, on the individual segments being transferred over a network data stream. These specialized algorithms are shown to effectively disrupt and neutralize active malicious software exploitation and exchange cycles and covert channel data exchanges using multimedia cover files. We show these defensive effects are implemented without adversely impacting either the overall quality of the multimedia carrier file or disturbing the normal communications channel protocol exchanges.

The researched capabilities are demonstrated on a prototyped platform. Several use case scenarios are provided that validate the efficacy of the concepts and relevant computer simulation results are detailed for examination. Potential applications for this research include real-time digital watermarking and forensic data tagging, data exfiltration prevention, email privacy and security enhancements to cloud services, real-time network bandwidth amplification, and covert channel disruption or embedding of multimedia carrier file exchanges.

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This item is available only to currently enrolled UTSA students, faculty or staff.
Keywords
cyber security, real-time networking, real-time steganography, steganography, stegofuscation
Citation
Department
Electrical and Computer Engineering