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: BMW fixes security flaw that exposed 2.2M cars to break-ins

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China blocks VPN services that skirt online censorship

Jan 23, 2015

China is blocking VPN services that let users skirt online censorship of popular websites such as Google and Facebook amid a wider crackdown on online information, tech companies and specialists said Friday.

One pipeline that combines many gene-finding tools

Jan 12, 2015

Reconstructing relationships among plant species is critical for a better understanding of fundamental aspects of plant biology, such as genome evolution, speciation, pollination biology, and many other areas.

BitTorrent embarks on web browser Project Maelstrom

Dec 11, 2014

On a mission to make the Internet more open, a BitTorrent browser, "Project Maelstrom," is in invite-only alpha. The BitTorrent blog on Wednesday posted "an invite-only Alpha to help build the distributed ...

Recommended for you

Airbnb to expand tax collection efforts

6 hours ago

Online lodging operator Airbnb is expanding its efforts to collect local taxes, responding to complaints that it competes unfairly with the hotel sector.

Jay Z to acquire Wimp music service

8 hours ago

US rap star Jay Z will make a $56-million foray into the music streaming business by taking over the Norwegian service Wimp, its shareholders confirmed Friday.

Scientists trial system to improve safety at sea

9 hours ago

A space scientist at the University of Leicester, in collaboration with the New Zealand Defence Technology Agency and DMC International Imaging, has been trialling a concept for using satellite imagery to ...

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.