Turnstile File Transfer: A Unidirectional System for Medium-Security Isolated Clusters

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Jurnal of Cybersecurity Education, Research, & Practice


Data transfer between isolated clusters is imperative for cybersecurity education, research, and testing. Such techniques facilitate hands-on cybersecurity learning in isolated clusters, allow cybersecurity students to practice with various hacking tools, and develop professional cybersecurity technical skills. Educators often use these remote learning environments for research as well. Researchers and students use these isolated environments to test sophisticated hardware, software, and procedures using full-fledged operating systems, networks, and applications. Virus and malware researchers may wish to release suspected malicious software in a controlled environment to observe their behavior better or gain the information needed to assist their reverse engineering processes. The isolation prevents harm to networked systems. However, there are times when the data is required to move in such quantities or speeds that it makes downloading onto an intermediate device untenable. This study proposes a novel turnstile model, a mechanism for one-way file transfer from one enterprise system to another without allowing data leakage. This system protects data integrity and security by connecting the isolated environment to the external network via a locked-down interconnection. Using medium-security isolated clusters, the researchers successfully developed a unidirectional file transfer system that acts as a one-way “turnstile” for secure file transfer between systems not connected to the internet or other external networks. The Turnstile system (source code available at github.com/monnin/turnstile) provides unidirectional file transfer between two computer systems. The solution enabled data to be transferred from a source system to a destination system without allowing any data to be transferred back in the opposite direction. The researchers found an automated process of transferring external files to isolated clusters optimized the transfer speed of external files to isolated clusters using Linux distributions and commands.