Section: Research Program

Our perspective

For many aspects of our everyday life, we heavily rely on information systems, many of which are based on massively networked devices that support a population of interacting and cooperating entities. While these information systems become increasingly open and complex, accidental and intentional failures get considerably more frequent and severe.

Two research communities traditionally address the concern of accidental and intentional failures: the distributed computing community and the security community. While both communities are interested in the construction of systems that are correct and secure, an ideological gap and a lack of communication exist between them that is often explained by the incompatibility of the assumptions each of them traditionally makes. Furthermore, in terms of objectives, the distributed computing community has favored systems availability while the security community has focused on integrity and confidentiality, and more recently on privacy.

Our long term ambition is to contribute to the building of distributed systems that are trustworthy and respectful of privacy, even when some nodes (The term node either refers to a device that hosts a network client or service or to the process that runs this client or service.) in the system have been compromised. For that purpose, we are convinced that combining classical security approaches and distributed computing paradigms is an interesting way to enforce the security of large-scale distributed systems. More specifically, since a distributed system is composed of nodes, we assert that the security of large-scale distributed systems has to be addressed at three complementary levels:

  • the level of each node: each standalone node has to enforce its own security;

  • the level of an identified set of trusted nodes: the trusted nodes can collaborate to enforce together their security;

  • the level of fully open large-scale distributed and dynamic systems: distributed computing paradigms such as consensus algorithms can be applied to cope with the possible presence of malicious nodes.

Notice that using a distributed architecture can also be an approach allowing the nodes to enforce their security without the need of a trusted third party.

The research activities of the CIDRE project-team focus mainly on the two following research axis:

  • Intrusion Detection System: the objective is to detect any suspicious events with regard to the security by analyzing some data generated on the monitored system.

  • Privacy-preserving Services: the objective is to ensure users' privacy even when this property seems incompatible with the provided services, like social networks or location-based services.

In all our studies, we consider a priori that the attacker is omnipotent. He can acts as he wants. Nevertheless, since our team is not specialized in cryptography, we consider that we can rely on strong unbroken crypto-systems.