System Provenance Collection from a Client Workstation

Starting Date: June 2018
Duration: 8-10weeks
Time commitment: 20h/week
Prerequisites: Second Year

A client workstation in an enterprise network is used by individual employees. They use this workstation to perform different activities, including accessing the data stored in the enterprise data repositories (i.e., Database). These activities, which relate to accessing the data and then using it on a workstation are the crucial missing element in data compliance management.

Data Provenance refers to records of the inputs, entities, systems, and process that influence data of interest, providing a historical record of the data and its origins. To provide a holistic view of the data provenance in an enterprise system, the provenance records of the activities carried out on a client workstation is important.

This project will deploy a Linux OS and Windows running workstations. The aim is to collect data provenance records from these workstations and store then in a rapid searchable format – so other elements of the enterprise auditing can query the provenance records. The final goal is to show provenance records pattern of each of the database activity carried out on the client workstation.

The student should have an interest in and willingness to learn basic data provenance would have prior knowledge of basic MySQL. Ideally, would be familiar with C programming language and Linux OS – especially syscalls and Linux Audit Framework. Familiarity with MS Windows auditing framework would be a plus. Good time-management and strong writing skills.  We would use git and latex to write up the results; prior experience of these tools would be helpful but not required. Even if you do not have the right skills as listed above but you consider yourself dedicated, passionate, hardworking and willing to learn new skills, we would like to hear from you.

It is intended that once the implementation is working it can be used for practical trials, and we would anticipate a potential conference paper may be submitted for publication based on the implementation and subsequent trials; the respective student would be a co-author of this paper.

As part of the project, you will work with an experienced and dedicated team of researchers who encourage innovative thinking and students taking ownership. You will be given necessary support throughout the project period with regular meetings, blackboard sessions, and guidance on how to carry out research effectively. This project is part of a much larger EPSRC funded project, so you would have an opportunity to work and contribute to a research project with real-world significance and impact. In previous year’s projects, a student was co-inventor on the generated patent application from the respective UROP project and also a co-author on the related research paper.