Researchers create next-generation software to identify complex cyber network attacks

Mar 17, 2008

Researchers in George Mason University’s Center for Secure Information Systems have developed new software that can reduce the impact of cyber attacks by identifying the possible vulnerability paths through an organization’s networks.

By their very nature networks are highly interdependent and each machine’s overall susceptibility to attack depends on the vulnerabilities of the other machines in the network. Attackers can take advantage of multiple vulnerabilities in unexpected ways, allowing them to incrementally penetrate a network and compromise critical systems. In order to protect an organization’s networks, it is necessary to understand not only individual system vulnerabilities, but also their interdependencies.

“Currently, network administrators must rely on labor-intensive processes for tracking network configurations and vulnerabilities, which requires a great deal of expertise and is error prone because of the complexity, volume and frequent changes in security data and network configurations,” says Sushil Jajodia, university professor and director of the Center for Secure Information Systems. “This new software is an automated tool that can analyze and visualize vulnerabilities and attack paths, encouraging ‘what-if analysis’.”

The software developed at Mason, CAULDRON, allows for the transformation of raw security data into roadmaps that allow users to proactively prepare for attacks, manage vulnerability risks and have real-time situational awareness. CAULDRON provides informed risk analysis, analyzes vulnerability dependencies and shows all possible attack paths into a network. In this way, it accounts for sophisticated attack strategies that may penetrate an organization’s layered defenses.

CAULDRON’s intelligent analysis engine reasons through attack dependencies, producing a map of all vulnerability paths that are then organized as an attack graph that conveys the impact of combined vulnerabilities on overall security. To manage attack graph complexity, CAULDRON includes hierarchical graph visualizations with high-level overviews and detail drilldown, allowing users to navigate into a selected part of the big picture to get more information.

“One example of this software in use is at the Federal Aviation Administration. They recently installed CAULDRON in their Cyber Security Incident Response Center and it is helping them prioritize security problems, reveal unseen attack paths and protect across large numbers of attack paths,” says Jajodia. “While currently being used by the FAA and defense community, the software is applicable in almost any industry or organization with a network and resources they want to keep protected, such as banking or education.”

Source: George Mason University

Explore further: Brain inspired data engineering

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hackers turning smartphones into slave armies

Nov 19, 2014

Mobile security firm Lookout on Wednesday warned that Android-powered smartphones or tablets are being targeted with malicious software that puts them at the mercy of hacker overlords.

Security and the Internet of Things

Nov 18, 2014

An ever-increasing number of our consumer electronics is internet-connected. We're living at the dawn of the age of the Internet of Things. Appliances ranging from light switches and door locks, to cars and ...

Facebook has URL for users running Tor-enabled browsers

Nov 01, 2014

A reassuring message on Friday from Facebook: "It's important to us at Facebook to provide methods for people to use our site securely." That is why Facebook implemented HTTPS across the service and Perfect ...

Self-repairing software tackles malware

Nov 13, 2014

University of Utah computer scientists have developed software that not only detects and eradicates never-before-seen viruses and other malware, but also automatically repairs damage caused by them. The software ...

Recommended for you

Brain inspired data engineering

12 hours ago

What if next-generation ICT systems could be based on the brain's structure and its cognitive and adaptive processes? A groundbreaking paradigm of brain-inspired intelligent ICT architectures is being born.

Forging a photo is easy, but how do you spot a fake?

Nov 21, 2014

Faking photographs is not a new phenomenon. The Cottingley Fairies seemed convincing to some in 1917, just as the images recently broadcast on Russian television, purporting to be satellite images showin ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

superhuman
not rated yet Mar 18, 2008
Marketing BS

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.