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“Bullet Time” Counter-Measures To Cyber-Attacks

Security experts are working on a new method of cyber-defence which relies on slowing down internet traffic.

Remember the famous scene in the movie, The Matrix? No, not the one in the hotel lobby with all the guns and chunks of plaster coming off the wall, but the other one on the roof, where Keanu dodges the bullets in slow-motion (and Warner Bros gets to show off its surround sound technology).

Following its debut in The Matrix, so-called "bullet time" was quickly adopted by a number of video games, and now cyber-security researchers at the University of Tulsa are employing the concept.

The idea is that when a cyber-attack has been initially detected, traffic inbound to the network is slowed down, including the malware payload, while an algorithm sends "hyper-speed" signals ahead of the incoming packets of data in order to mobilise network defences. The malware bullets are slowed down, as the network Neo attempts to dodge them.

The downsides of the system? It won't be cheap to convert an existing network to run the hyper-speed algorithm, and also, the scheme is only as good as the threat sensors detecting the inbound malicious payload.

To that end, another team at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, has developed a way of the infrastructure effectively monitoring itself, using software that watches the kernel.

Jason Reeves, leader of the Hanover team, said: "We detect changes in the sequence of code the program runs, ones often introduced by malicious programs. We can also verify the operating system code to see if it has been modified by malware."

He adds: "Our system detects the presence of untrustworthy behaviour and leaves the response up to the administrator."

Currently Reeves's system is set up with power-grid embedded computers, but could be deployed to trigger the hyper-speed response.

Source: New Scientist