Can a resilient and fail-safe security system be created? Given time and money can the ultimate secure network technology be developed? Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) intends to fund an initiative to find out and in June 2010 announced the Clean‐Slate Design of Resilient, Adaptive Secure Hosts (CRASH). It relies on human biology to develop super-smart, highly adaptive, supremely secure networks.
CRASH program looks to translate human immune system strategies into computational terms. In the human immune system multiple independent mechanisms constantly monitor the body for pathogens. Even at the cellular level, multiple redundant mechanisms monitor and repair the structure of the DNA. These mechanisms consume tons of resources, but let the body continue functioning and to repair the damage caused by malfunctions and infectious agents, DARPA stated.
“The analog of the innate immune system will include combinations of hardware and software elements that constantly enforce basic semantic properties such as type safety, memory integrity, code/data distinctions, information flow, and access control constraints. The innate subsystem will render impossible attacks based on vulnerabilities stemming from violations of these basic properties. As with biological systems, significant resources should be dedicated to this task. Since hardware resources are now plentiful, it would be reasonable to use hardware mechanisms where this will lead to more complete enforcement or to better runtime performance,” DARPA stated.
Seems a bit far-fetched and will likely take a number of years before any commercial products roll out as a result of this government study, but the intent and objectives are intriguing and might actually make headway in building a more secure computing environment.
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