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Software Design that Borrows from Biology

November 26, 2012

An interesting article of writing software that is more effective against attacks:

To combat uniformity in software, designers are now pursuinga variety of approaches that make computer systemresources moving targets. The Clean Slate project is creatingsoftware that constantly shape-shifts to elude would-beattackers.

That the Internet enables almost any computer in the world toconnect directly to any other makes it possible for an attackerwho identifies a single vulnerability to almost instantlycompromise a vast number of systems.

But Dr. Neumann notes that biological systems have multiple immune systems – not only arethere initial barriers, but a second system consisting of sentinels like T cells can detect andeliminate intruders and then remember them to provide protection in the future.

One design approach that Dr. Neumann’s team is pursuing is known as a tagged architecture.In effect, each piece of data in the experimental system must carry an encryption code thatensures that it is one that the system trusts. If the data or program’s papers are not in order,the computer won’t process them.

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