Using mussel-inspired self-organization and account proxies to obfuscate workload ownership and placement in clouds

Justin L. Rice, Vir V. Phoha, Philip Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Recent research has provided evidence indicating how a malicious user could perform coresidence profiling and public-to-private IP mapping to target and exploit customers which share physical resources. The attacks rely on two steps: resource placement on the target's physical machine and extraction. Our proposed solution, in part inspired by mussel self-organization, relies on user account and workload clustering to mitigate coresidence profiling. Users with similar preferences and workload characteristics are mapped to the same cluster. To obfuscate the public-to-private IP map, each cluster is managed and accessed by an account proxy. Each proxy uses one public IP address, which is shared by all clustered users when accessing their instances, and maintains the mapping to private IP addresses. We describe a set of capabilities and attack paths an attacker needs to execute for targeted coresidence, and present arguments to show how our approach disrupts the critical steps in the attack path for most cases. We then perform a risk assessment to determine the likelihood an individual user will be victimized, given that a successful nondirected exploit has occurred. Our results suggest that while possible, this event is highly unlikely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6506103
Pages (from-to)963-972
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Distributed systems
  • animal behavior
  • data privacy
  • data security
  • multi-agent systems
  • risk analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Computer Networks and Communications


Dive into the research topics of 'Using mussel-inspired self-organization and account proxies to obfuscate workload ownership and placement in clouds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this