A Framework for an Adaptive Early Warning and Response System for Insider Privacy Breaches
Organisations such as governments and healthcare bodies are increasingly responsible for managing large amounts of personal information, and the increasing complexity of modern information systems is causing growing concerns about the protection of these assets from insider threats. Insider threats are very difficult to handle, because the insiders have direct access to information and are trusted by their organisations. The nature of insider privacy breaches varies with the organisation’s acceptable usage policy and the attributes of an insider. However, the level of risk that insiders pose depends on insider breach scenarios including their access patterns and contextual information, such as timing of access. Protection from insider threats is a newly emerging research area, and thus, only few approaches are available that systemise the continuous monitoring of dynamic insider usage characteristics and adaptation depending on the level of risk. The aim of this research is to develop a formal framework for an adaptive early warning and response system for insider privacy breaches within dynamic software systems. This framework will allow the specification of multiple policies at different risk levels, depending on event patterns, timing constraints, and the enforcement of adaptive response actions, to interrupt insider activity. Our framework is based on Usage Control (UCON), a comprehensive model that controls previous, ongoing, and subsequent resource usage. We extend UCON to include interrupt policy decisions, in which multiple policy decisions can be expressed at different risk levels. In particular, interrupt policy decisions can be dynamically adapted upon the occurrence of an event or over time. We propose a computational model that represents the concurrent behaviour of an adaptive early warning and response system in the form of statechart. In addition, we propose a Privacy Breach Specification Language (PBSL) based on this computational model, in which event patterns, timing constraints, and the triggered early warning level are expressed in the form of policy rules. The main features of PBSL are its expressiveness, simplicity, practicality, and formal semantics. The formal semantics of the PBSL, together with a model of the mechanisms enforcing the policies, is given in an operational style. Enforcement mechanisms, which are defined by the outcomes of the policy rules, influence the system state by mutually interacting between the policy rules and the system behaviour. We demonstrate the use of this PBSL with a case study from the e-government domain that includes some real-world insider breach scenarios. The formal framework utilises a tool that supports the animation of the enforcement and policy models. This tool also supports the model checking used to formally verify the safety and progress properties of the system over the policy and the enforcement specifications.
- PhD