Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genetics-inspired research prevents cyber attacks

Date:
February 14, 2012
Source:
Wake Forest University
Summary:
Leveraging the concept of “survival of the fittest,” researchers are fighting the continual evolution of computer viruses, worms and malware with evolution by developing the first-ever automated computer configurations that adjust as quickly as the threats.

Wake Forest University computer science professor Errin Fulp and graduate student Michael Crouse work together to develop a new type of computer security code that mimics natural selection as it adapts to threats.
Credit: Ken Bennett, Wake Forest University photographer

Cyber security is an ever changing and growing concern. Nearly twice as much cyber security funding proposed in the 2013 budget underscores the need for improved computer network defenses. Inadequate security configurations are blamed for 80 percent of the United States Air Force network vulnerabilities.

Now Wake Forest University researchers are fighting the continual evolution of viruses, worms and malware with evolution by developing the first-ever automated computer configurations that adjust as quickly as the threats.

Computer Science Associate Professor Errin Fulp and graduate student Michael Crouse are refining a genetically inspired algorithm that proactively discovers more secure computer configurations by leveraging the concept of "survival of the fittest." Early simulations have shown the increased diversity of each device's configuration improves overall network safety, without putting undue stress on IT administrators.

"Typically, administrators configure hundreds and sometimes thousands of machines the same way, meaning a virus that infects one could affect any computer on the same network," says Crouse, who recently was named one of the "nation's top new inventors" by Inventor's Digest magazine. "If successful, automating the ability to ward off attacks could play a crucial role in protecting highly sensitive data within large organizations."

Funded by a grant from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), the researchers aim to improve defense mechanisms of similar computing infrastructures with minimal human interaction.

Cyber attacks usually take place in two phases, says Fulp. In the reconnaissance phase, a virus simply observes the landscape, identifies possible defense mechanisms and looks for the best way in. If nothing has changed since the reconnaissance phase upon return, the virus strikes. But security experts say even the slightest change in environment can make a huge difference in deterring potential attackers.

"If we can automatically change the landscape by adding the technological equivalent of security cameras or additional lighting, the resulting uncertainty will lower the risk of attack," explains Fulp.

Researchers are currently testing their work to transform cyber security. Planned assessment includes integrating the automated system into the computer science department's annual "hackathon," giving budding developers the opportunity to improve the system.

Though no one has successfully modeled this complex process before, this is not the first time Fulp and Crouse have turned to nature to guide their research. Read more about their bio-inspired projects to improve cyber security at http://go.wfu.edu/bioinspiration.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wake Forest University. The original article was written by Katie Neal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wake Forest University. "Genetics-inspired research prevents cyber attacks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120214121728.htm>.
Wake Forest University. (2012, February 14). Genetics-inspired research prevents cyber attacks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120214121728.htm
Wake Forest University. "Genetics-inspired research prevents cyber attacks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120214121728.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nintendo Changed Gaming World, but Its Future Uncertain: Upstone

Nintendo Changed Gaming World, but Its Future Uncertain: Upstone

AFP (Apr. 19, 2014) The Nintendo Game Boy celebrates its 25th anniversary Monday and game expert Stephen Upstone says the console can be credited with creating a trend towards handheld gaming devices. Duration: 01:21 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nearly Two Weeks On, The Internet Copes With Heartbleed

Nearly Two Weeks On, The Internet Copes With Heartbleed

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) The Internet is taking important steps in patching the vulnerabilities Heartbleed highlighted, but those preventive measures carry their own costs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook To Share Nearby Friends Data With Advertisers

Facebook To Share Nearby Friends Data With Advertisers

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) A Facebook spokesperson has confirmed the company will use GPS data from the new Nearby Friends feature for advertising sometime in the future. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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