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The transition to a serverless model has many implications for security. Established techniques such as secure enclaves can be used with FaaS, but doing so requires overcoming various obstacles [1,2,3].

Fine-grained isolation in FaaS offers potential security benefits, but it will be difficult for programmers to take advantage of this without supporting tools and techniques. Information flow control [4] provides the basis for some approaches, including Valve [5] and work by Alpernas et al. [6]. Will.iam [7] a produces more robust permission boundaries through workflow integration, and Hong et al. [8] suggest a collection of design patterns that can help develop secure serverless applications.

Researchers have found that serverless computing is susceptible to novel forms of attack. For example, Kelly et al. [9] describe “denial of wallet” attacks that exploit the scalability of serverless computing to exhaust the victim’s budget. The Warmonger attack [10] is a type of denial of service attack that exploits multi-tenant infrastructure to introduce abusive activity on a victim’s IPs, leading other services to block them.

Work has also focused on analyzing the security of specific applications, e.g., the OmniBallot online voting system [11].

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  • [2]Weizhong Qiang, Zezhao Dong, and Hai Jin. 2018. Se-Lambda: Securing Privacy-Sensitive Serverless Applications Using SGX Enclave. In International Conference on Security and Privacy in Communication Systems, Springer, 451–470.
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  • [8]Sanghyun Hong, Abhinav Srivastava, William Shambrook, and Tudor Dumitra\cbs. 2018. Go Serverless: Securing Cloud via Serverless Design Patterns. In 10th USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Cloud Computing (HotCloud 18).
  • [9]Alessandro Bocci, Stefano Forti, Gian-Luigi Ferrari, and Antonio Brogi. 2021. Secure FaaS Orchestration in the Fog: How Far Are We? Computing 103, 5 (2021), 1025–1056.
  • [10]Junjie Xiong, Mingkui Wei, Zhuo Lu, and Yao Liu. 2021. Warmonger: Inflicting Denial-of-Service via Serverless Functions in the Cloud. In Proceedings of the 2021 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security, 955–969.
  • [11]Michael Specter and J. Alex Halderman. 2021. Security Analysis of the Democracy Live Online Voting System. In 30th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 21).