A Self-Healing Security System against Cloud Computing Viruses

cloud computing securityTremendous efforts are being placed by the researchers at the Computer Science Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to design a new security system against cloud computing viruses. Their aim is to create an environment where the computing system will heal by itself just like how it is with viruses inside the human body that are self-limiting and are self-healing. The objective is to design a process that will immediately recognize any cyber attack and to arrest its destructive action or to disable it at its outset. This way the cloud environment will not have to shut down and recovery is possible in an instant.

Funding for the research will come from the Department of Defense (DoD) and the legwork is in cooperation with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) Mission-oriented Resilient Clouds (MRC) project.

The Center for Resilient Software (CRS) is also doing a similar project where they are trying to design a system that will immediately identify a security breach and defend the system as early as its start. The project could be the beginning of a new era in cloud computing security.

It is a work in progress, but shows impressive developments. To make this possible, researchers from various MIT organizations are drafting a guideline enabling cloud network’s normal system function, in spite of obvious virus attacks. Just like how fighting cells attack the viruses that enter the human body, this new security system will immediately apprehend unwelcome intruders. At CSAIL, this project is called the Cloud Intrusion Detection and Repair project.

Principal investigator at CSAIL, Pofessor Martin Rinard said, “Much like the human body has a monitoring system that can detect when everything is running normally, our hypothesis is that a successful attack appears as an anomaly in the normal operating activity of the system. By observing the execution of a ‘normal’ cloud system we’re going to the heart of what we want to preserve about the system, which should hopefully keep the cloud safe from attack.”

The CSAIL study entitled, “Cloud Intrusion Detection and Repair” expects to map and to build a matrix of how networks are created and how they operate. This will be the basis of the new cloud security guideline. The objective is to continuously assess and monitor the entire cloud network while systems are in operation, and to detect any threats then disable them immediately. This way, operations are not interrupted and unnecessary power outages minimized.

The complexity of the dynamics of the cloud platforms makes it a popular target for viruses and the only way to understand the entire cloud environment is to have a good grasp of how it operates.

“The freedom, fluidity and dynamic platform that cloud computing provides also makes it particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks,” according to the CSAIL.


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