User experience and robustness in social virtual reality applications
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Cloud-based applications that rely on emerging technologies such as social virtual reality are increasingly being deployed at high-scale in e.g., remote-learning, public safety, and healthcare. These applications increasingly need mechanisms to maintain robustness and immersive user experience as a joint consideration to minimize disruption in service availability due to cyber attacks/faults. Specifically, effective modeling and real-time adaptation approaches need to be investigated to ensure that the application functionality is resilient and does not induce undesired cybersickness levels. In this thesis, we investigate a novel ‘DevSecOps' paradigm to jointly tune both the robustness and immersive performance factors in social virtual reality application design/operations. We characterize robustness factors considering Security, Privacy and Safety (SPS), and immersive performance factors considering Quality of Application, Quality of Service, and Quality of Experience (3Q). We achieve “harmonized security and performance by design” via modeling the SPS and 3Q factors in cloud-hosted applications using attack-fault trees (AFT) and an accurate quantitative analysis via formal verification techniques i.e., statistical model checking (SMC). We develop a real-time adaptive control capability to manage SPS/3Q issues affecting a critical anomaly event that induces undesired cybersickness. This control capability features a novel dynamic rule-based approach for closed-loop decision making augmented by a knowledge base for the SPS/3Q issues of individual and/or combination events. Correspondingly, we collect threat intelligence on application and network based cyber-attacks that disrupt immersiveness, and develop a multi-label K-NN classifier as well as statistical analysis techniques for critical anomaly event detection. We validate the effectiveness of our solution approach in a real-time cloud testbed featuring vSocial, a social virtual reality based learning environment that supports delivery of Social Competence Intervention (SCI) curriculum for youth. Based on our experiment findings, we show that our solution approach enables: (i) identification of the most vulnerable components that impact user immersive experience to formally conduct risk assessment, (ii) dynamic decision making for controlling SPS/3Q issues inducing undesirable cybersickness levels via quantitative metrics of user feedback and effective anomaly detection, and (iii) rule-based policies following the NIST SP 800-160 principles and cloud-hosting recommendations for a more secure, privacy-preserving, and robust cloud-based application configuration with satisfactory immersive user experience.