The University of Arizona

Events & News

CS Colloquium

DateTuesday, February 16, 2016
Time11:00 am
Concludes12:15 pm
LocationGould-Simpson 906
DetailsPlease join us for coffee and light refreshments at 10:45am, Gould-Simpson, 9th floor atrium

Faculty Host: Dr. Saumya Debray
SpeakerAdam Bates
TitlePh.D. Candidate
AffiliationUniversity of Florida

Designing and Leveraging Trustworthy Provenance-Aware Architectures

In a provenance-aware system, mechanisms gather and report metadata that describes the history of each object being processed on the system, allowing users to understand how data objects came to exist in their present state. However, little attention has been given to securing provenance-aware systems. Provenance itself is a ripe attack vector, and its authenticity and integrity must be guaranteed before it can be put to use. In this talk, I will detail my efforts to bring trustworthy data provenance to computing systems. These efforts have led to the design and implementation of a provenance-aware operating system anchored in trusted hardware, and a mechanism that leverages the confinement properties provided by Mandatory Access Controls to perform efficient policy-based provenance collection. Using these architectures, I will demonstrate that provenance is an invaluable tool for combating critical security threats including data exfiltration, SQL injection, and even binary exploitation. By addressing key security and performance challenges, this work paves the way for the further proliferation of provenance capabilities.


Adam Bates is a PhD candidate at the University of Florida, where he is advised by Professor Kevin Butler in the study of computer systems and cyber security. Adam has conducted research on a variety of security topics, including SSL/TLS, cloud computing, USB attack vectors, financial services, and telephony infrastructure. His dissertation is in the area of data provenance, particularly the construction of secure provenance-aware systems. He received his B.Sc. in Computer Science in 2006 from the University of Maryland, his M.S. in Computer Science in 2012 from the University of Oregon, and will earn his Ph.D in Computer Science from the University of Florida in the Spring of 2016. Adam has participated in graduate internships at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and EMC.