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Title: Novel analytical modelling-based simulation of worm propagation in unstructured peer-to-peer networks
Author: Alharbi, Hani Sayyaf
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 6103
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2017
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Millions of users world-wide are sharing content using Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks, such as Skype and Bit Torrent. While such new innovations undoubtedly bring benefits, there are nevertheless some associated threats. One of the main hazards is that P2P worms can penetrate the network, even from a single node and then spread rapidly. Understanding the propagation process of such worms has always been a challenge for researchers. Different techniques, such as simulations and analytical models, have been adopted in the literature. While simulations provide results for specific input parameter values, analytical models are rather more general and potentially cover the whole spectrum of given parameter values. Many attempts have been made to model the worm propagation process in P2P networks. However, the reported analytical models to-date have failed to cover the whole spectrum of all relevant parameters and have therefore resulted in high false-positives. This consequently affects the immunization and mitigation strategies that are adopted to cope with an outbreak of worms. The first key contribution of this thesis is the development of a susceptible, exposed, infectious, and Recovered (SEIR) analytical model for the worm propagation process in a P2P network, taking into account different factors such as the configuration diversity of nodes, user behaviour and the infection time-lag. These factors have not been considered in an integrated form previously and have been either ignored or partially addressed in state-of-the-art analytical models. Our proposed SEIR analytical model holistically integrates, for the first time, these key factors in order to capture a more realistic representation of the whole worm propagation process. The second key contribution is the extension of the proposed SEIR model to the mobile M-SEIR model by investigating and incorporating the role of node mobility, the size of the worm and the bandwidth of wireless links in the worm propagation process in mobile P2P networks. The model was designed to be flexible and applicable to both wired and wireless nodes. The third contribution is the exploitation of a promising modelling paradigm, Agent-based Modelling (ABM), in the P2P worm modelling context. Specifically, to exploit the synergies between ABM and P2P, an integrated ABM-Based worm propagation model has been built and trialled in this research for the first time. The introduced model combines the implementation of common, complex P2P protocols, such as Gnutella and GIA, along with the aforementioned analytical models. Moreover, a comparative evaluation between ABM and conventional modelling tools has been carried out, to demonstrate the key benefits of ease of real-time analysis and visualisation. As a fourth contribution, the research was further extended by utilizing the proposed SEIR model to examine and evaluate a real-world data set on one of the most recent worms, namely, the Conficker worm. Verification of the model was achieved using ABM and conventional tools and by then comparing the results on the same data set with those derived from developed benchmark models. Finally, the research concludes that the worm propagation process is to a great extent affected by different factors such as configuration diversity, user-behaviour, the infection time lag and the mobility of nodes. It was found that the infection propagation values derived from state-of-the-art mathematical models are hypothetical and do not actually reflect real-world values. In summary, our comparative research study has shown that infection propagation can be reduced due to the natural immunity against worms that can be provided by a holistic exploitation of the range of factors proposed in this work.
Supervisor: Hussain, Amir Sponsor: Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Peer-to-Peer ; SEIR Model ; Analytical Model ; Agent-based Model ; Peer-to-peer architecture (Computer networks) ; Computer networks--Security measures ; Computer crimes--Prevention