Performance Impact of Connectivity Restrictions and Increased Vulnerability Presence on Automated Attack Graph Generation   [open pdf - 1MB]

"The current generation of network vulnerability detection software uses databases of known vulnerabilities and scans target networks for these weaknesses. The results can be voluminous and difficult to assess. Thus, the success of this technology has created a need for software to aid in network vulnerability analysis. Although research has shown the effectiveness of automated attack graph generation tools in displaying potential attack paths in a network, research involving the performance of these tools has been limited. The performance impact of connectivity restrictions and the number of vulnerabilities present on a network for these tools is not well understood. Using empirical testing, we have collected quantitative data using CAULDRON, an attack graph generation tool developed at George Mason University, on a collection of simulated networks defined to modulate connectivity at certain points in our networks and represent the number of vulnerabilities present per node. By defining our model to include sets of nodes, which allow connectivity from all nodes to all vulnerable nodes in the set; the number of nodes present in each set, the number of connections between sets; and the number of vulnerabilities per node as our variables, we are able to observe the performance impact on CAULDRON of both connectivity restrictions and the increased presence of vulnerabilities in our networks. The effect of these variables on processing time and memory usage is presented and can be used as a metric to assess the scalability of this tool within various customer environments."

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ICIW 2007 2nd International Conference on i-Warfare and Security, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, USA 8-9 March 2007, p. 63-72
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