A decentralised secure and privacy-preserving e-government system

Nnko, Noe Elisa (2020) A decentralised secure and privacy-preserving e-government system. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral Thesis)
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Electronic Government (e-Government) digitises and innovates public services to businesses, citizens, agencies, employees and other shareholders by utilising Information and Communication Technologies. E-government systems inevitably involves finance, personal, security and other sensitive information, and therefore become the target of cyber attacks through various means, such as malware, spyware, virus, denial of service attacks (DoS), and distributed DoS (DDoS). Despite the protection measures, such as authentication, authorisation, encryption, and firewalls, existing e-Government systems such as websites and electronic identity management systems (eIDs) often face potential privacy issues, security vulnerabilities and suffer from single point of failure due to centralised services. This is getting more challenging along with the dramatically increasing users and usage of e-Government systems due to the proliferation of technologies such as smart cities, internet of things (IoTs), cloud computing and interconnected networks. Thus, there is a need of developing a decentralised secure e-Government system equipped with anomaly detection to enforce system reliability, security and privacy.

This PhD work develops a decentralised secure and privacy-preserving e-Government system by innovatively using blockchain technology. Blockchain technology enables the implementation of highly secure and privacy preserving decentralised applications where information is not under the control of any centralised third party. The developed secure and decentralised e-Government system is based on the consortium type of blockchain technology, which is a semi-public and decentralised blockchain system consisting of a group of pre-selected entities or organisations in charge of consensus and decisions making for the benefit of the whole network of peers. Ethereum blockchain solution was used in this project to simulate and validate the proposed system since it is open source and supports off-chain data storage such as images, PDFs, DOCs, contracts, and other files that are too large to be stored in the blockchain or that are required to be deleted or changed in the future, which are essential part of e-Government systems.

This PhD work also develops an intrusion detection system (IDS) based on the Dendritic cell algorithm (DCA) for detecting unwanted internal and external traffics to support the proposed blockchain-based e-Government system, because the blockchain database is append-only and immutable. The IDS effectively prevent unwanted transactions such as virus, malware or spyware from being added to the blockchain-based e-Government network. Briefly, the DCA is a class of artificial immune systems (AIS) which was introduce for anomaly detection in computer networks and has beneficial properties such as self-organisation, scalability, decentralised control and adaptability. Three significant improvements have been implemented for DCA-based IDS. Firstly, a new parameters optimisation approach for the DCA is implemented by using the Genetic algorithm (GA). Secondly, fuzzy inference systems approach is developed to solve nonlinear relationship that exist between features during the pre processing stage of the DCA so as to further enhance its anomaly detection performance in e-Government systems. In addition, a multiclass DCA capable of detection multiple attacks is developed in this project, given that the original DCA is a binary classifier and many practical classification problems including computer network intrusion detection datasets are often associated with multiple classes.

The effectiveness of the proposed approaches in enforcing security and privacy in e- Government systems are demonstrated through three real-world applications: privacy and integrity protection of information in e Government systems, internal threats detection, and external threats detection. Privacy and integrity protection of information in the proposed e- Government systems is provided by using encryption and validation mechanism offered by the blockchain technology. Experiments demonstrated the performance of the proposed system, and thus its suitability in enhancing security and privacy of information in e-Government systems. The applicability and performance of the DCA-based IDS in e Government systems were examined by using publicly accessible insider and external threat datasets with real world attacks. The results show that, the proposed system can mitigate insider and external threats in e-Government systems whilst simultaneously preserving information security and privacy. The proposed system also could potentially increase the trust and accountability of public sectors due to the transparency and efficiency which are offered by the blockchain applications.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anomaly detection, Atificial immune systems, Dendritic cell algorithm, Blockchain technology, Intrusion detection systems
Subjects: G400 Computer Science
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Computer and Information Sciences
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2021 09:15
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2022 13:45
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/47353

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