The protection of data exchanged within the cloud infrastructure is currently based on PKI based signatures. Specifically, there is a need for stronger attribution to detect unauthorized changes to the data and identify the responsible entity. Data provenance provides information on all changes performed on data exchanged between multiple entities. Researchers have proposed security solutions, such as PKI signatures, to ensure provenance. However, implementation of PKI signatures typically depends on a centralized authority which is not effective in cloud infrastructure. Blockchain has been proposed as a technology that facilitates secure transfer of information through a sequence of cryptographically-secure keys across a distributed system. There is no need for a central authority and is executed by a system of distributed ledgers which records all actions performed on data and is shared among all participating entities. The transactions in the public ledger are verified by a consensus of majority of participating entities. The blockchain contains a verifiable record of every transaction which cannot be changed.
We have developed the data provenance framework based on block chain that can be deployed in a cloud computing environment. We studied the data provenance challenges in cloud computing environment and documented challenges in linking cloud logging and auditing data, collected from multiple entities, to provide the complete history of changes to data. We also investigated multiple vulnerabilities in block chain. We also focused on the block discarding attack and provided insights into the effectiveness of the attack in cloud environment.
Two research papers published from this project were voted Top 50 Academic papers in Blockchain in 2018. The team has published 14 articles in conference proceedings, three articles in journals, one magazine article and upcoming book published by IEEE-Press entitled, “Blockchain for Distributed Systems Security".. One research article, entitled “ProvChain: A Blockchain-based Data Provenance Architecture in Cloud Environment has garnered over 500 citations as of 2021. In addition to research articles, the team has developed three prototype tools. The Provchain tool provides Blockchain based data provenance capability in the cloud that allows cloud users to track the operations conducted on shared resources. A tool for Blockchain based information exchange provides an anonymous and privacy preserving mechanism to exchange cyber threat information. Finally, the tool for Blockchain based networked identity management provides the ability to detect rogue devices and unauthorized communication among authorized devices. We have disseminated the results of the project to Navy Research Lab, CERDEC, US Transcom, MITRE and Air Force Space Command. We also organized a symposium on Blockchain for Information sharing for NATO and shared the research results with the NATO community. In addition, we leveraged the results from the project to developing a networked identity management prototype for Air Force Space command.