Work place: School of Computing and Informatics, Maseno University, Private Bag, Maseno, Kenya
Research Interests: Artificial Intelligence
Henry Okoyo holds a Ph. D. degree in Computer Science from the University of Manchester, an MSc degree in Microprocessor Engineering and Digital Electronics from the former University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), and a BSc degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He is a lecturer at the Department of Computer Science, School of Computing and Informatics, Maseno University, Kenya. His main teaching and research interests include Artificial Intelligence, and he is a Ph.D. supervisor to Mr. Ndichu.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5815/ijcnis.2023.02.04, Pub. Date: 8 Apr. 2023
Remote access technologies encrypt data to enforce policies and ensure protection. Attackers leverage such techniques to launch carefully crafted evasion attacks introducing malware and other unwanted traffic to the internal network. Traditional security controls such as anti-virus software, firewall, and intrusion detection systems (IDS) decrypt network traffic and employ signature and heuristic-based approaches for malware inspection. In the past, machine learning (ML) approaches have been proposed for specific malware detection and traffic type characterization. However, decryption introduces computational overheads and dilutes the privacy goal of encryption. The ML approaches employ limited features and are not objectively developed for remote access security. This paper presents a novel ML-based approach to encrypted remote access attack detection using a weighted random forest (W-RF) algorithm. Key features are determined using feature importance scores. Class weighing is used to address the imbalanced data distribution problem common in remote access network traffic where attacks comprise only a small proportion of network traffic. Results obtained during the evaluation of the approach on benign virtual private network (VPN) and attack network traffic datasets that comprise verified normal hosts and common attacks in real-world network traffic are presented. With recall and precision of 100%, the approach demonstrates effective performance. The results for k-fold cross-validation and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) mean area under the curve (AUC) demonstrate that the approach effectively detects attacks in encrypted remote access network traffic, successfully averting attackers and network intrusions.[...] Read more.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5815/ijitcs.2020.05.03, Pub. Date: 8 Oct. 2020
Information security threats exploit vulnerabilities in communication networks. Remote access vulnerabilities are evident from the point of communication initialization following the communication channel to data or resources being accessed. These threats differ depending on the type of device used to procure remote access. One kind of these remote access devices can be considered as safe as the organization probably issues it to provide for remote access. The other type is risky and unsafe, as they are beyond the organization’s control and monitoring. The myriad of devices is, however, a necessary evil, be it employees on public networks like cyber cafes, wireless networks, vendors support, or telecommuting. Virtual Private Network (VPN) securely connects a remote user or device to an internal or private network using the internet and other public networks. However, this conventional remote access security approach has several vulnerabilities, which can take advantage of encryption. The significant threats are malware, botnets, and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). Because of the nature of a VPN, encryption will prevent traditional security devices such as a firewall, Intrusion Detection System (IDS), and antivirus software from detecting compromised traffic. These vulnerabilities have been exploited over time by attackers using evasive techniques to avoid detection leading to costly security breaches and compromises. We highlight numerous shortcomings for several conventional approaches to remote access security. We then adopt network tiers to facilitate vulnerability management (VM) in remote access domains. We perform regular traffic simulation using Network Security Simulator (NeSSi2) to set bandwidth baseline and use this as a benchmark to investigate malware spreading capabilities and DDoS attacks by continuous flooding in remote access. Finally, we propose a novel approach to remote access security by passive learning of packet capture file features using machine learning and classification using a classifier model.[...] Read more.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5815/ijcnis.2019.11.05, Pub. Date: 8 Nov. 2019
Remote access facilitates collaboration and the creation of a seamless work environment. This technology enables employees to access the latest versions of data and resources from different locations other than the organization’s premises. These additional locations include home or untrusted networks not governed by the organization's security policy and baseline. Balancing between security and accessibility is a significant challenge. Remote access can be a high-security risk if not correctly safeguarded and monitored. This paper presents some technologies and methods for remote access. It then highlights security concerns, attack vectors, and logical vulnerabilities in remote access. To address these security concerns and weaknesses, we present a domains approach to logical vulnerabilities in remote access and vulnerability scoring using the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS). Domains simplify device and user authentication and separate the organization network into logical and discrete entities. The separation enables a unique security application to each domain. Vulnerability scoring enhances remediation efforts through prioritization of the logical vulnerabilities. The approach comprehensively covers all points of compromise during remote access and contributes to effective logical vulnerability management. The results of the experiments provide evidence that all remote access domains have a high severity rating of at least a 7.28 CVSS score. Our study highlights the drawbacks of the current remote access methods and technologies such as the Virtual Private Network (VPN) and shows the importance of securing all domains during remote access.[...] Read more.
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