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Trusted Computing and Secure Virtualization in Cloud Computing

Paladi, Nicolae (2012) Trusted Computing and Secure Virtualization in Cloud Computing. Masters thesis, Luleå University of Technology.

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Abstract

Large-scale deployment and use of cloud computing in industry is accompanied and in the same time hampered by concerns regarding protection of data handled by cloud computing providers. One of the consequences of moving data processing and storage off company premises is that organizations have less control over their infrastructure. As a result, cloud service (CS) clients must trust that the CS provider is able to protect their data and infrastructure from both external and internal attacks. Currently however, such trust can only rely on organizational processes declared by the CS provider and can not be remotely verified and validated by an external party. Enabling the CS client to verify the integrity of the host where the virtual machine instance will run, as well as to ensure that the virtual machine image has not been tampered with, are some steps towards building trust in the CS provider. Having the tools to perform such verifications prior to the launch of the VM instance allows the CS clients to decide in runtime whether certain data should be stored- or calculations should be made on the VM instance offered by the CS provider. This thesis combines three components -- trusted computing, virtualization technology and cloud computing platforms -- to address issues of trust and security in public cloud computing environments. Of the three components, virtualization technology has had the longest evolution and is a cornerstone for the realization of cloud computing. Trusted computing is a recent industry initiative that aims to implement the root of trust in a hardware component, the trusted platform module. The initiative has been formalized in a set of specifications and is currently at version 1.2. Cloud computing platforms pool virtualized computing, storage and network resources in order to serve a large number of customers customers that use a multi-tenant multiplexing model to offer on-demand self-service over broad network. Open source cloud computing platforms are, similar to trusted computing, a fairly recent technology in active development. The issue of trust in public cloud environments is addressed by examining the state of the art within cloud computing security and subsequently addressing the issues of establishing trust in the launch of a generic virtual machine in a public cloud environment. As a result, the thesis proposes a trusted launch protocol that allows CS clients to verify and ensure the integrity of the VM instance at launch time, as well as the integrity of the host where the VM instance is launched. The protocol relies on the use of Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for key generation and data protection. The TPM also plays an essential part in the integrity attestation of the VM instance host. Along with a theoretical, platform-agnostic protocol, the thesis also describes a detailed implementation design of the protocol using the OpenStack cloud computing platform. In order the verify the implementability of the proposed protocol, a prototype implementation has built using a distributed deployment of OpenStack. While the protocol covers only the trusted launch procedure using generic virtual machine images, it presents a step aimed to contribute towards the creation of a secure and trusted public cloud computing environment.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:cloud computing, trusted computing, tpm, virtualization, security
ID Code:5268
Deposited By:Nicolae Paladi
Deposited On:20 Aug 2012 12:46
Last Modified:28 Jan 2013 13:58

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