Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Taking Cues From Mother Nature To Foil Cyber Attacks

Date:
November 27, 2003
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
Taking their cues from Mother Nature and biodiversity, computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of New Mexico are collaborating on a National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported project to study "cyber-diversity" for computer systems as a way to fend off malicious viruses, worms and other cyber attacks.

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Taking their cues from Mother Nature and biodiversity, computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of New Mexico are collaborating on a National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported project to study "cyber-diversity" for computer systems as a way to fend off malicious viruses, worms and other cyber attacks.

In nature, diseases are most devastating when an infection-causing organism encounters a "monoculture," a vast swath of genetically similar individuals, each susceptible to the organism's method of attack. In the same vein, computer viruses and worms exploit the same flaw on every computer running the same software.

"We are looking at computers the way a physician would look at genetically related patients, each susceptible to the same disorder,'' said Mike Reiter, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and computer science at Carnegie Mellon and associate director of CyLab, a Carnegie Mellon initiative focused on advancing cybersecurity technology and education. "In a more diverse population, one member may fall victim to a pathogen or disorder, while another might not have the same vulnerability."

"Our project seeks to reduce computer vulnerability by automatically changing certain aspects of a computer's software," said Dawn Song, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and computer science at Carnegie Mellon. "Adapting this idea in biology to computers may not make an individual computer more resilient to attack, but it aims to make the whole population of computers more resilient in aggregate."

The existence of the same flaw on many computers is routinely exploited by attackers via Internet worms such as Code Red, which infected over 350,000 systems in just 13 hours using a single vulnerability.

Earlier approaches toward diversity in software attempted to develop different versions of the same software by independent teams, the idea being that the versions would naturally evolve different sets of vulnerabilities. However, such a manual approach is economically expensive and takes a long time, the researchers said.

"We are investigating various new methods for automating the diversity process at different system levels," said Stephanie Forrest, professor of computer science at New Mexico. "Our automated approach has the potential to be more economical and could introduce more diversity into computer systems." Attackers would then have less information about individual computers and would have to approach each computer differently.

"This work, bridging technical disciplines and taking the economics of security solutions into account, represents the kind of innovative thinking that NSF's Cyber Trust program hopes to stimulate in the research community," said Carl Landwehr, NSF program director. The Carnegie Mellon and New Mexico collaboration is supported by a $750,000 award from NSF, the independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Taking Cues From Mother Nature To Foil Cyber Attacks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031126064921.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2003, November 27). Taking Cues From Mother Nature To Foil Cyber Attacks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031126064921.htm
National Science Foundation. "Taking Cues From Mother Nature To Foil Cyber Attacks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031126064921.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — New photo-recognition software from MicroBlink, called PhotoMath, solves linear equations and simple math problems with step-by-step results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rate Hike Worries Down on Inflation Data

Rate Hike Worries Down on Inflation Data

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inflation remains well under control according to the latest consumer price index, giving the Federal Reserve more room to keep interest rates low for awhile. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins