MACS: A Modular Approach to Cloud Security

The Modular Approach to Cloud Security (MACS) project is a $10 million five-year National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program Frontier grant awarded to Boston University in 2014.   MACS is one of  two new center-scale “Frontier” awards to support large, multi-institution projects that address grand challenges in cybersecurity science and engineering with the potential for broad economic and scientific impact.

For more information about the project, please visit the NSF Frontier: MACS web site.

The goal of the MACS project is to develop methods for building information systems with meaningful multi-layered security guarantees. Arguably, reasoning about all the security aspects of systems “in one blow” is not feasible. The approach we take is thus modular: We aim at systems that are built from smaller and separable functional components, where the security of each component is asserted individually, and where security of the system as a whole can be derived from the security of its components.

The team — made up of researchers from Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Connecticut and Northeastern University — comprises experts in different aspects of information security and cryptography.  The research is highly collaborative and pools together key areas of expertise in order to provide overall security guarantees. A key component of the project is the Massachusetts Open Cloud, which provides the research team with a test-bed for deploying and testing the developed mechanisms in a production cloud.