Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Leading Cloud Computing Security Expert Joins Enomaly

I'm pleased to announce that David Lie, a leader in the Cloud Security sector has joined Enomaly as our new Chief Security Architect.

Currently on sabbatical David Lie is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto. Widely regarded as a leading information and virtualization security leader, David Lie received his B.S. from the University of Toronto in 1998, and his M.S. and Ph.D from Stanford University in 2001 and 2004 respectively. While at Stanford, David founded and led the XOM (eXecute Only Memory) Processor Project, which supports the execution of tamper and copy-resistant software. He was the recipient of a best paper award at SOSP for this work.

David is also a recipient of the MRI Early Researcher Award, a CFI New Opportunities Fund Award and serves on the Scientific Advisor Board of the NSERC ISSNet Strategic Network on Systems Security. David has served on various program committees including OSDI, ASPLOS, Usenix Security and IEEE S & P. He has consulted for various silicon valley companies including HP and Compaq. Currently he focuses on securing commodity systems through low-level software such as virtual machine monitors and operating system kernels; architectural and hardware support to increase security; and security in cloud computing platforms.

As Enomaly's new Chief Security Architect, his focus will be to create a security infrastructure that will allow customers to gain control and trust over a virtual platform that is hosted by remote cloud providers. These cloud security concerns have become a key gating factor holding back enterprise adoption of cloud computing.

In this role he will lead the development of Enomaly's Cloud related security products and services that will address what he describes as "net-new security risks" that are unique to cloud computing, namely the risks that are due to execution of applications in a shared, virtual infrastructure. Shared infrastructure opens the possibility that alongside the customer's workload is hostile code. Virtual infrastructure is software-based, and software is modifiable -- so a hostile agent might be able to modify layers of the execution environment, resulting in the customer's workload executing on a (virtual) CPU that is hostile to it and programmed to wait for secrets to be decrypted and then make off with the plaintext, or storing secrets in (virtual) RAM that is hostile to it, etc.

To help solve this new cloud based security risk, David had this to say, "While cloud providers use virtualization to ensure isolation between customers, they face additional security challenges. Malicious customers may leverage the provider’s hardware to launch attacks, either from VMs they own or by compromising VMs from benign customers. These attacks can damage the provider’s reputation and ability to serve other customers. While cloud providers can use introspection to monitor customer VMs and detect malicious activity, it must be used with care since existing introspection techniques are based on assumptions that do not hold in cloud environments."

Welcome to the team!

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