The Taser Intrusion Recovery System

Ashvin Goel, Kenneth Po, Kamran Farhadi, Zheng Li, Eyal de Lara

20th Symposium on Operating Systems Prinicples (SOSP), Brighton, UK, October 2005



Recovery from intrusions is typically a very time-consuming operation in current systems. At a time when the cost of human resources dominates the cost of computing resources, we argue that next generation systems should be built with automated intrusion recovery as a primary goal. In this paper, we describe the design of Taser, a system that helps in selectively recovering legitimate file-system data after an attack or local damage occurs. Taser reverts tainted, i.e. attack-dependent, file-system operations but preserves legitimate operations. This process is difficult for two reasons. First, the set of tainted operations is not known precisely. Second, the recovery process can cause conflicts when legitimate operations depend on tainted operations. Taser provides several analysis policies that aid in determining the set of tainted operations. To handle conflicts, Taser uses automated resolution policies that isolate the tainted operations. Our evaluation shows that Taser is effective in recovering from a wide range of intrusions as well as damage caused by system management errors.