University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group Seminar > A Cyber Security Lab: from teaching, to a security evaluation platform, to a novel configuration management paradigm?

A Cyber Security Lab: from teaching, to a security evaluation platform, to a novel configuration management paradigm?

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The Internet has become part of our critical communication infrastructure and has revolutionised the lives of many people. However, security in cyberspace is still an underdeveloped field. This is for many reasons, but one of them is that the Internet was developed without a clear security concept in mind and another is that it is now lucrative for criminals to find security holes. Overall, cyber security is a critical skill for everyone using the Internet.

We start this talk by discussing how a potential cyber-security training course at a University may look like. Practical hands-on training courses have proven very valuable in teaching basic concepts, but it’s hard to setup and prepare high-quality courses. Among the problems is that each lab needs a realistic environment, configured with a magnitude of services and consisting of complex network technology. To recognise the true value of such labs, we need to reduce the complexity of building, configuring, deploying and monitoring those emulated networks.

We argue that this can be achieved by translation from a high-level network design into a concrete set of router and service configurations that automatically deploy onto several emulation platforms. This creates the required complexity, while keeping it manageable. We will then continue to show that such a system is not only be beneficial for teaching cyber security, but can also be used as a large-scale security evaluation platform that studies novel technology in the context of a realistic network environment. We illustrate our ideas at an example that is designed to study the scaling properties of the Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI). We conclude by outlining how such a high-level configuration framework may change how networks are configured in the future and thus lead towards an Internet design that has a security concept in mind.

Bio: Olaf Maennel is a lecturer at Loughborough University. His interests are in computer networks, focusing on: network security, routing, measurements, IPv6, as well as topology modelling and configuration management. He obtained his Ph.D. (Dr. rer. nat.) in computer science from the Technical University of Munich, Germany, in the group of Anja Feldmann in 2005 and did a Post-Doc at Adelaide University in Australia with Matthew Roughan.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group Seminar series.

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