Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cybersecurity Experts Begin Investigation on Self-Adapting Computer Network That Defends Itself Against Hackers

14.05.2012
In the online struggle for network security, Kansas State University cybersecurity experts are adding an ally to the security force: the computer network itself.

Scott DeLoach, professor of computing and information sciences, and Xinming "Simon" Ou, associate professor of computing and information sciences, are researching the feasibility of building a computer network that could protect itself against online attackers by automatically changing its setup and configuration.

DeLoach and Ou were recently awarded a five-year grant of more than $1 million from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to fund the study "Understanding and quantifying the impact of moving target defenses on computer networks." The study, which began in April, will be the first to document whether this type of adaptive cybersecurity, called moving-target defense, can be effective. If it can work, researchers will determine if the benefits of creating a moving-target defense system outweigh the overhead and resources needed to build it.

Helping Ou and DeLoach in their investigation and research are Kansas State University students Rui Zhuang and Su Zhang, both doctoral candidates in computing and information sciences from China, and Alexandru Bardas, doctoral student in computing and information sciences from Romania.

As the study progresses the computer scientists will develop a set of analytical models to determine the effectiveness of a moving-target defense system. They will also create a proof-of-concept system as a way to experiment with the idea in a concrete setting.

"It's important to investigate any scientific evidence that shows that this approach does work so it can be fully researched and developed," DeLoach said. He started collaborating with Ou to apply intelligent adaptive techniques to cybersecurity several years ago after a conversation at a university open house.

The term moving-target defense -- a subarea of adaptive security in the cybersecurity field -- was first coined around 2008, although similar concepts have been proposed and studied since the early 2000s. The idea behind moving-target defense in the context of computer networks is to create a computer network that is no longer static in its configuration. Instead, as a way to thwart cyber attackers, the network automatically and periodically randomizes its configuration through various methods -- such as changing the addresses of software applications on the network; switching between instances of the applications; and changing the location of critical system data.

Ou and DeLoach said the key is to make the network appear to an attacker that it is changing chaotically while to an authorized user the system operates normally.

"If you have a Web server, pretty much anybody in the world can figure out where you are and what software you're running," DeLoach said. "If they know that, they can figure out what vulnerabilities you have. In a typical scenario, attackers scan your system and find out everything they can about your server configuration and what security holes it has. Then they select the best time for them to attack and exploit those security holes in order to do the most damage. This could change that."

Creating a computer network that could automatically detect and defend itself against cyber attacks would substantially increase the security of online data for universities, government departments, corporations and businesses -- all of which have been the targets of large-scale cyber attacks.

In February 2011 it was discovered that the Nasdaq Stock Market's computer network had been infiltrated by hackers. Although federal investigators concluded that it was unlikely the hackers stole any information, the network's security had been left vulnerable for more than a year while the hackers visited it numerous times.

According to Ou, creating a moving-target defense system would shift the power imbalance that currently resides with hackers -- who need only find a single security hole to exploit -- back to the network administrators -- who would have a system that frequently removes whatever security privileges attackers may gain with a new clean slate.

"This is a game-changing idea in cybersecurity," Ou said. "People feel that we are currently losing against online attackers. In order to fundamentally change the cybersecurity landscape and reduce that high risk we need some big, fundamental changes to the way computers and networks are constructed and organized."

A related story about how this cybersecurity model may benefit a new cloud-based network for businesses can be read at http://bit.ly/ID4z9F.

Scott DeLoach, 785-532-6350, sdeloach@k-state.edu;
and Xinming "Simon" Ou, 785-532-6350, xou@k-state.edu

Scott DeLoach | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.k-state.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Controlling robots with brainwaves and hand gestures
20.06.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CSAIL

nachricht Innovative autonomous system for identifying schools of fish
20.06.2018 | IMDEA Networks Institute

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Better model of water under extreme conditions could aid understanding of Earth's mantle

21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

What are the effects of coral reef marine protected areas?

21.06.2018 | Life Sciences

The Janus head of the South Asian monsoon

21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>