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Section: New Results

Security and Privacy

Participants : Ilaria Castellani, José Fragoso Santos, Nataliia Bielova, Tamara Rezk [correspondant] .

Security of Dynamically Evolving Systems of Communicating Processes

We have started to address security issues in the context of dynamically evolving systems of communicating processes, which are able to adapt themselves in reaction to particular events (for instance, security attacks or changes in security policies). We present initial results on a simple model of processes communicating via structured interactions (sessions), in which self-adaptation and security concerns are jointly addressed. In this model, security violations occur when processes attempt to read or write messages of inappropriate security level within a structured interaction. Such violations trigger adaptation mechanisms that prevent the violations to occur and/or to propagate their effect in the choreography. Our model is equipped with local and global mechanisms for reacting to security violations; type soundness results ensure that the global protocols are still correctly executed while the system adapts itself to preserve its security.

Browser Randomisation against Fingerprinting: a Quantitative Information Flow Approach

Web tracking companies use device fingerprinting to distinguish the users of the websites by checking the numerous properties of their machines and web browsers. One way to protect the users' privacy is to make them switch between different machine and browser configurations. We propose a formalisation of this privacy enforcement mechanism.

We use information-theoretic channels to model the knowledge of the tracker and the fingerprinting program, and show how to synthesise a randomisation mechanism that defines the distribution of configurations for each user. This mechanism provides a strong guarantee of privacy (the probability of identifying the user is bounded by a given threshold) while maximising usability (the user switches to other configurations rarely). To find an optimal solution, we express the enforcement problem of randomisation by a linear program. We investigate and compare several approaches to randomisation and find that more efficient privacy enforcement would often provide lower usability. Finally, we relax the requirement of knowing the fingerprinting program in advance, by proposing a randomisation mechanism that guarantees privacy for an arbitrary program.

This work has been published and presented at the Nordic Conference on Secure IT Systems (NordSec 2014) [12] . The extended version of the paper has been published as a technical report [20] .

Crying Wolf? On the Price Discrimination of Online Airline Tickets

Price discrimination refers to the practice of dynamically varying the prices of goods based on a customer's purchasing power and willingness to pay. Motivated by several anecdotal accounts, we report on a three week experiment, conducted in search of price discrimination in airline tickets. Despite presenting the companies with multiple opportunities for discriminating us, and contrary to our expectations, we did not find any evidence for systematic price discrimination. At the same time, we witnessed the highly volatile prices of certain airlines which make it hard to establish cause and effect. Finally, we provided alternative explanations for the observed price differences.

This work has been published and presented at the Workshop on Hot Topics in Privacy Enhancing Technologies (HotPETs 2014) [19] .

Stateful Declassification Policies for Event-Driven Programs

We propose a novel mechanism for enforcing information flow policies with support for declassification on event-driven programs. Declassification policies consist of two functions. First, a projection function specifies for each confidential event what information in the event can be declassified directly. This generalizes the traditional security labelling of inputs. Second, a stateful release function specifies the aggregate information about all confidential events seen so far that can be declassified. We provide evidence that such declassification policies are useful in the context of JavaScript web applications. An enforcement mechanism for our policies is presented and its soundness and precision is proven. Finally, we give evidence of practicality by implementing and evaluating the mechanism in a browser. This work has been published at Computer Security Foundations (CSF'14) [18] .

An Information Flow Monitor for a Core of DOM

We propose and prove sound a novel, purely dynamic, flow sensitive monitor for securing information flow in an imperative language extended with DOM-like tree operations, that we call Core DOM. In Core DOM, as in the DOM API, tree nodes are treated as first-class values. We take advantage of this feature in order to implement an information flow control mechanism that is finer-grained than previous approaches in the literature. Furthermore, we extend Core DOM with additional constructs to model the behavior of live collections in the DOM Core Level 1 API. We show that this kind of construct effectively augments the observational power of an attacker and we modify the proposed monitor so as to tackle newly introduced forms of information leaks. This work has been published at the 9th International Symposium on Trustworthy Global Computing (TGC) [11] .

An Information Flow Monitor-Inlining Compiler for Securing a Core of JavaScript

Web application designers and users alike are interested in isolation properties for trusted JavaScript code in order to prevent confidential resources from being leaked to untrusted parties. Noninterference provides the mathematical foundation for reasoning precisely about the information flows that take place during the execution of a program. Due to the dynamicity of the language, research on mechanisms for enforcing noninterference in JavaScript has mostly focused on dynamic approaches. We present the first information flow monitor inlining compiler for a realistic core of JavaScript. We prove that the proposed compiler enforces termination-insensitive noninterference and we provide an implementation that illustrates its applicability.

This work has been published at the 29th IFIP International Information Security and Privacy Conference (IFIP SEC) [14] .

From Static to Hybrid Typing Secure Information Flow in a Core of JavaScript

We propose a novel type system for securing information flow in a core of JavaScript. This core takes into account the defining features of the language, such as prototypical inheritance, extensible objects, and constructs that check the existence of object properties. We design a hybrid version of the proposed type system. This version infers a set of assertions under which a program can be securely accepted and instruments it so as to dynamically check whether these assertions hold. By deferring rejection to runtime, the hybrid version can typecheck secure programs that purely static type systems cannot accept.