CIDRE (standing for “Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability, repartition”) is a joint research group between Inria, University Rennes 1, CNRS and CentraleSupélec, focusing on the security of distributed information systems. CIDRE is a research group of the IRISA laboratory, and the continuation of the former SSIR research group.
In the field of security and distributed systems, the CIDRE team focuses mainly on the three following topics:
- Intrusion Detection;
- Privacy Protection;
- Trust Management.
For many aspects of our everyday life, we rely heavily on informations 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 these 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.
By contrast with this traditional conception, we are convinced that by looking at information systems as a combination of possibly revisited basic protocols, each one specified by a set of properties such as synchronization and agreement, security properties should emerge. This vision is shared by others and in particular by Myers et al, whose objectives are to explore new methods for constructing distributed systems that are trustworthy in the aggregate even when some nodes in the system have been compromised by malicious attackers. In accordance with this vision, the first main characteristic of the CIDRE group is to gather researchers from the two aforementioned communities in order to address in a complementary manner both the concerns of accidental and intentional failures.
The second main characteristic of the CIDRE group lies in the scope of the systems it considers. Indeed, during our research, we will consider three complementary levels of study: the Node Level, the Group Level, and the Open Network Level:
- Node Level: 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. Node security management must be the focus of a particular attention, since from the user point of view, security of his own devices is crucial. Sensitive information and services must therefore be locally protected against various forms of attacks. This protection may take a dual form, namely prevention and detection.
- Group Level: Distributed applications often rely on the identification of sets of interacting entities. These subsets are either called groups, clusters, collections, neighborhoods, spheres, or communities according to the criteria that define the membership. Among others, the adopted criteria may reflect the fact that its members are administrated by a unique person, or that they share the same security policy. It can also be related to the localization of the physical entities, or the fact that they need to be strongly synchronized, or even that they share mutual interests. Due to the vast number of possible contexts and terminologies, we refer to a single type of set of entities, that we call set of nodes. We assume that a node can locally and independently identify a set of nodes and modify the composition of this set at any time. The node that manages one set has to know the identity of each of its members and should be able to communicate directly with them without relying on a third party. Despite these two restrictions, this definition remains general enough to include as particular cases most of the examples mentioned above. Of course, more restrictive behaviors can be specified by adding other constraints. We are convinced that security can benefit from the existence and the identification of sets of nodes of limited size as they can help in improving the efficiency of the detection and prevention mechanisms.
- Open Network Level: In the context of large-scale distributed and dynamic systems, interaction with unknown entities becomes an unavoidable habit despite the induced risk. For instance, consider a mobile user that connects his laptop to a public Wifi access point to interact with his company. At this point, data (regardless it is valuable or not) is updated and managed through non trusted undedicated entities (i.e., communication infrastructure and nodes) that provide multiple services to multiple parties during that user connection. In the same way, the same device (e.g., laptop, PDA, USB key) is often used for both professional and private activities, each activity accessing and manipulating decisive data.
The third characteristic of the CIDRE group is to focus on three different aspects of security, i.e., trust, intrusion detection, and privacy, and on the different bridges that exist between these aspects. Indeed, we believe that to study new security solutions for nodes, set of nodes and open network levels, one must take into account that it is now a necessity to interact with devices whose owners are unknown. To reduce the risk to rely on dishonest entities, a trust mechanism is an essential prevention tool that aims at measuring the capacity of a remote node to provide a service compliant with its specification. Such a mechanism should allow to overcome ill-founded suspicions and to be aware of established misbehaviors. To identify such misbehaviors, intrusion detection systems are necessary. Such systems aimed at detecting, by analyzing data flows, whether violations of the security policies have occurred. Finally, Privacy Protection which is now recognized as a basic user right, should be respected despite the presence of tools that continuously observe or even control users actions or behaviors.