Automated analysis of security-sensitive protocols

Oct 25, 2005

The sheer number and variety of security protocols for Internet applications under development makes it difficult to be sure that any one protocol is 100 per cent secure from attack. Now an automated tool can systematically validate these security-sensitive protocols and applications.

“The AVISPA software tool enables a security protocol designer to input the protocol and the language he/she wishes to use, then feeds back information on this protocol including any known bugs or security weaknesses,” says Professor Alessandro Armando of the University of Genoa’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (DIST) and coordinator of the IST programme-backed Future and Emerging Technologies project AVISPA. “Previously such protocol designers had no automated support to help them in their design role – that is the purpose of the AVISPA tool."

Secure protocols are a vital element in carrying out safe online interactions between a user’s Web browser and a company Web server, for example a bank’s Web server in an online banking application. Though such protocols might look simple, they can often be extremely difficult to get absolutely right, such as with no bugs or weaknesses in the protocol.

Armando quotes the classic example of the Needham-Schroeder public-key protocol, which was first published in 1978 as a means of mutual authentication between two parties using public-key cryptography. The protocol was eventually found to be vulnerable to simple attacks in 1996, eighteen years later!

AVISPA participants aimed to develop a push-button, industrial-strength technology for the analysis of such security-sensitive Internet protocols and applications. The project finished in July 2005 with the release of the AVISPA tool, which is a simple software application that runs on a PC or via a Web interface. It can be accessed online, and offers both a Basic and an Expert mode.

The consortium partners believe that this new tool will help speed the development of the next generation of security protocols, and improve their security in the process.

Project partner Siemens has already discovered a weakness in one of its own protocols using the tool, and has revised the protocol and issued a new patent accordingly. The partners have started collaborating with SAP for continuing the analysis of more complex security-sensitive applications under future research projects.

Source: IST Results

Explore further: Germany signs no-spy deal with BlackBerry

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How to keep the world's eyes out of your webcam

17 hours ago

There are concerns that thousands of private webcams around the world could be streaming live images to anybody who wishes to view them – without their owner knowing – thanks to a Russian website provi ...

Virtual stimuli help identify deviant sexual behaviors

Nov 03, 2014

Virtual reality may be the key to predicting both the behaviour of sex offenders and the effectiveness of the therapies they have undergone, according to a study undertaken by Massil Benbouriche of the University ...

Recommended for you

Audi to develop Tesla Model S all-electric rival

8 hours ago

The Tesla Model S has a rival. Audi is to develop all-electric family car. This is to be a family car that will offer an all-electric range of 280 miles (450 kilometers), according to Auto Express, which ...

A green data center with an autonomous power supply

13 hours ago

A new data center in the United States is generating electricity for its servers entirely from renewable sources, converting biogas from a sewage treatment plant into electricity and water. Siemens implemented ...

After a data breach, it's consumers left holding the bag

14 hours ago

Shoppers have launched into the holiday buying season and retailers are looking forward to year-end sales that make up almost 20% of their annual receipts. But as you check out at a store or click "purchase" on your online shopping cart ...

Can we create an energy efficient Internet?

14 hours ago

With the number of Internet connected devices rapidly increasing, researchers from Melbourne are starting a new research program to reduce energy consumption of such devices.

Brain inspired data engineering

15 hours ago

What if next-generation ICT systems could be based on the brain's structure and its cognitive and adaptive processes? A groundbreaking paradigm of brain-inspired intelligent ICT architectures is being born.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.