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Systems Seminar - CSE

Scalable Integrity-Justified Content Provenance

Patrick McDanielAssociate Professor, Computer Science and Engineering DepartmentPennsylvania State University

Information services such as the web are ubiquitous. These services are limited in that a recipient of content knows nothing about the environment in which that information was generated other than the specific server from whence it came (and even that information can be unreliable). In many contexts this lack of provenance information can substantially limit the utility of the received content. In this talk
I discuss the Spork web service. Spork uses the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) to tie the web server integrity state to the content delivered to browsers, thus allowing a client to verify that the origin of the content was functioning properly when the received content was generated and/or delivered. The design and implementation of the Spork service is discussed, and the challenges and solutions of scaling the delivery of mixed static and dynamic content using exceptionally slow TPM hardware are explored. An empirical study of an Spork-enabled Apache webserver shows Spork can deliver over 7,900 static or 3,800 dynamic integrity-measured web objects per-second. More broadly, this shows how systems structures and cryptographic advances can be used scale integrity measured provenance services at near line-speeds.

Patrick McDaniel is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the Pennsylvania State University and co-director of the Systems and Internet Infrastructure Security Laboratory. Patrick's research efforts centrally focus on network, telecommunications, and systems security, language-based security, and technical public policy. Patrick is the editor-in-chief of the ACM Journal Transactions on Internet Technology (TOIT), and serves as associate editor of the journals ACM Transactions on Information and System Security, IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, and IEEE Transactions on Computers. Patrick was awarded the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and has chaired several top conferences in security including, among others, the 2007 and 2008 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy and the 2005 USENIX Security Symposium. Prior to pursuing his Ph.D. in 1996 at the University of Michigan, Patrick was a software architect and program manager in the telecommunications industry.

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