Modeling and Mitigating the Insider Threat of Remote Administrators in Clouds

  • Nawaf AlhebaishiEmail author
  • Lingyu Wang
  • Sushil Jajodia
  • Anoop Singhal
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10980)


As today’s cloud providers strive to attract customers with better services and less downtime in a highly competitive market, they increasingly rely on remote administrators including those from third party providers for fulfilling regular maintenance tasks. In such a scenario, the privileges granted for remote administrators to complete their assigned tasks may allow an attacker with stolen credentials of an administrator, or a dishonest remote administrator, to pose severe insider threats to both the cloud tenants and provider. In this paper, we take the first step towards understanding and mitigating such a threat. Specifically, we model the maintenance task assignments and their corresponding security impact due to privilege escalation. We then mitigate such impact through optimizing the task assignments with respect to given constraints. The simulation results demonstrate the effectiveness of our solution in various situations.



The authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. This work was partially supported by the National Institutes of Standard and Technology under grant number 60NANB16D287, by the National Science Foundation under grant number IIP-1266147, and by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada under Discovery Grant N01035.


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nawaf Alhebaishi
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Lingyu Wang
    • 1
  • Sushil Jajodia
    • 3
  • Anoop Singhal
    • 4
  1. 1.Concordia Institute for Information Systems EngineeringConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of Computing and Information TechnologyKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.Center for Secure Information SystemsGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  4. 4.Computer Security DivisionNational Institute of Standards and TechnologyGaithersburgUSA

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