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Colloquium - Vachharajani

RIFLE: An Architectural Framework for User-Centric Information-Flow Security
Princeton University
2/17/2005
3:30pm-4:30pm

Even as modern computing systems allow the manipulation and distribution of massive amounts of information, users of these systems are unable to manage the confidentiality of their data in a practical fashion. Conventional access control security mechanisms cannot prevent the illegitimate use of privileged data once access is granted. For example, information provided by a user during an online purchase may be covertly delivered to malicious third parties by an untrustworthy web browser. Existing information-flow security mechanisms do provide this assurance, but only for programmer-specified policies enforced during program development as a static analysis on special-purpose type-safe languages. Not only are these techniques not applicable to many commonly used programs, but they leave the user with no defense against malicious programmers or altered binaries.

In this talk, we propose RIFLE, a runtime information-flow security system designed from the user's perspective. By addressing information-flow security using architectural support, RIFLE gives users a practical way to enforce their own information-flow security policy on all programs. We prove that, contrary to statements in the literature, runtime systems like RIFLE are no less secure than existing language-based techniques. Using a model of the architectural framework and a binary translator, we demonstrate RIFLE's correctness and illustrate that the performance cost is reasonable.

Neil Vachharajani is a third year graduate student in the Department of Computer Science at Princeton University. Neil is presently working with the Liberty Research Group to develop compiler and architectural techniques to enhance computer security and to target next generation chip multiprocessor architectures. Neil has been an active participant in the development of the Liberty Simulation Environment, a toolset for modeling computer architectures. Neil is a member of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, a recipient of Princeton University's Calvin Dodd MacCracken Senior Thesis/Project Award, and is a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow.

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