Swarm intelligence for cutting edge cyber security

In the battle to keep computer networks safe we are use to using tools like resourcing hogging anti-virus and other malware scanning methods. The problem is that in many cases this is more like fighting a rear-guard action as malware creators change and adapt quicker than the tools we use to fight them.

This may change due to some new thinking and following one of nature’s scrappiest fighters – the common ant.

Using a concept called swarm intelligence security researchers are trying to create a digital version of those pesky little insects that have ruined more than one picnic.

“In nature, we know that ants defend against threats very successfully,” explains Professor of Computer Science Errin Fulp, an expert in security and computer networks. “They can ramp up their defense rapidly, and then resume routine behavior quickly after an intruder has been stopped. We were trying to achieve that same framework in a computer system.”

Source: Science Daily – Ants Vs. Worms: New Computer Security Mimics Nature

The project at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has already successfully used this idea of digital ants to track down a worm that they let loose into a network of 64 computers. As a result the project has been extended and two of the researchers, Wes Featherstun and Brian Williams, will be incorporating their research into their master’s theses.

This type of security isn’t something that we will probably see anytime soon on our personal computers as it is more oriented to protecting large networks like the ones at universities, governments, and large corporations.

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