Those papers are under review and will continue evolving in the future, any feedback will be greatly appreciated.
Highly Available Blockchain Nodes With N-Version Design
As all software, blockchain nodes are exposed to faults in their underlying execution stack. Unstable execution environments can disrupt the availability of blockchain nodes interfaces, resulting in downtime for users. This paper introduces the concept of N-version Blockchain nodes. This new type of node relies on simultaneous execution of different implementations of the same blockchain protocol, in the line of Avizienis’ N-version programming vision. We design and implement an N-version blockchain node prototype in the context of Ethereum, called N-ETH. We show that N-ETH is able to mitigate the effects of unstable execution environments and significantly enhance availability under environment faults. To simulate unstable execution environments, we perform fault injection at the system-call level. Our results show that existing Ethereum node implementations behave asymmetrically under identical instability scenarios. N-ETH leverages this asymmetric behavior available in the diverse implementations of Ethereum nodes to provide increased availability, even under our most aggressive fault-injection strategies. We are the first to validate the relevance of N-version design in the domain of blockchain infrastructure. From an industrial perspective, our results are of utmost importance for businesses operating blockchain nodes, including Google, ConsenSys, and many other major blockchain companies
Challenges of Producing Software Bill Of Materials for Java
Software bills of materials (SBOM) promise to become the backbone of software supply chain hardening. We deep-dive into 6 tools and the accuracy of the SBOMs they produce for complex open-source Java projects. Our novel insights reveal some hard challenges for the accurate production and usage of SBOMs.
Automatic Diversity in the Software Supply Chain
Despite its obvious benefits, the increased adoption of package managers to automate the reuse of libraries has opened the door to a new class of hazards: supply chain attacks. By injecting malicious code in one library, an attacker may compromise all instances of all applications that depend on the library. To mitigate the impact of supply chain attacks, we propose the concept of Library Substitution Framework. This novel concept leverages one key observation: when an application depends on a library, it is very likely that there exists other libraries that provide similar features. The key objective of Library Substitution Framework is to enable the developers of an application to harness this diversity of libraries in their supply chain. The framework lets them generate a population of application variants, each depending on a different alternative library that provides similar functionalities. To investigate the relevance of this concept, we develop ARGO, a proof-of-concept implementation of this framework that harnesses the diversity of JSON suppliers. We study the feasibility of library substitution and its impact on a set of 368 clients. Our empirical results show that for 195 of the 368 java applications tested, we can substitute the original JSON library used by the client by at least 15 other JSON libraries without modifying the client’s code. These results show the capacity of a Library Substitution Framework to diversify the supply chain of the client applications of the libraries it targets.
Chaos Engineering of Ethereum Blockchain Clients
The Ethereum blockchain is the operational backbone of major decentralized finance platforms. As such, it is expected to be exceptionally reliable. In this paper, we present ChaosETH, a chaos engineering tool for resilience assessment of Ethereum clients. ChaosETH operates in the following manner: First, it monitors Ethereum clients to determine their normal behavior. Then, it injects system call invocation errors into the Ethereum clients and observes the resulting behavior under perturbation. Finally, ChaosETH compares the behavior recorded before, during, and after perturbation to assess the impact of the injected system call invocation errors. The experiments are performed on the two most popular Ethereum client implementations: GoEthereum and OpenEthereum. We experiment with 22 different types of system call invocation errors. We assess their impact on the Ethereum clients with respect to 15 application-level metrics. Our results reveal a broad spectrum of resilience characteristics of Ethereum clients in the presence of system call invocation errors, ranging from direct crashes to full resilience. The experiments clearly demonstrate the feasibility of applying chaos engineering principles to blockchains.
Automatic Observability for Dockerized Java Applications
Docker is a virtualization technique heavily used in the industry to build cloud-based systems. In the context of Docker, a system is said to be observable if engineers can get accurate information about its running state in production. In this paper, we present a novel approach, called POBS, to automatically improve the observability of Dockerized Java applications. POBS is based on automated transformations of Docker configuration files. Our approach injects additional modules in the production application, in order to provide better observability. We evaluate POBS by applying it on open-source Java applications which are containerized with Docker. Our key result is that 148/170 (87%) of Docker Java containers can be automatically augmented with better observability.