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[Paper] The Case of Using Negative (Deceiving) Information in Data Protection

Mohammed H. Almeshekah and Eugene H. Spafford
[Paper] Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security ICCWS-2014, ISSN: 2048-9870, Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited, March 2014
[Poster] 15th Annual Information Security Symposium, CERIAS, Purdue, March, 2014 (Best Poster Award)
Paper (full text) Poster

ABSTRACT: As the convergence between our physical and digital worlds continues at a rapid pace, much of our information is becoming available online. In this paper we develop a novel taxonomy of methods and techniques that can be used to protect digital information. We discuss how information has been protected and show how we can structure our methods to achieve better results. We explore complex relationships among these protection techniques grouped into four categories; namely denial and isolation, degradation and obfuscation, negative information and deception and adversary attribution and counter-operations. We present analysis of these relationships and discuss how can they be applied at different scales within organizations. We also identify some of the areas that are worth further investigation. We map these protection techniques against the cyber kill-chain model and discuss some findings.

Moreover, we identify the use of deceit as a useful protection technique that can significantly enhance the security of computer systems. We posit how the well-known Kerckhoffs’s principle has been misinterpreted to drive the security community away from deception-based mechanisms. We examine advantages these techniques can have when protecting our information in addition to traditional methods of denial and hardening. We show that by intelligently introducing deceit in information systems, we not only lead attackers astray, but also give organizations the ability to detect leakage; create doubt and uncertainty in leaked data; add risk at the adversaries’ side to using the leaked information; and significantly enhance our abilities to attribute adversaries. We discuss how to overcome some of the challenges that hinder the adoption of deception-based techniques and present some recent work, our own contribution, and some promising directions for future research.

Poster Presentation During the CERIAS Symposium:

Paper Presentation During the Conference:

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