Improving Internet Protocol Standards: Security, Privacy and Performance

An increasing proportion of the global economy is dependent on network communications and infrastructures to complete day to day activities. Ranging from devices like smartwatches to medical devices in a hospital till devices in flights are connected to the Internet. To make this work, all the devices must agree on how they should communicate. That is, they must speak a common language, known as a “protocol” that describes the format of the information that is sent and the operations to be performed. Therefore, as any piece of software, protocols can also lead to vulnerabilities that open devices up to the cyber attack. This research seeks to better understand this breakdown between theory and practice, and identify ways to restore correct functionality in vulnerable networked systems.

To this end, my work has considered the security challenges the ubiquitous TLS/HTTPS protocols, DNS security, SMTP security and legacy telecommunications infrastructure. Together with the security overhead, many other factors also contribute to reducing the performance of protocols. Therefore, my research looks into different ways on how to produce secure and performant protocols.

Internet-Wide Vulnerability Measurement and Assessment

Recent advances in Internet-wide scanning make it possible to conduct network surveys in seconds. Our research applies these measurement techniques to comprehensively identify systems that suffer from vulnerabilities and automatically take steps to help affected system operators correct the problems. To accomplish this, our project explores three interconnected classes of security research questions in network vulnerability measurement, vulnerability assessment, and vulnerability notification.