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Self-healing cloudMIT, DARPA developing self-healing cloud network

Published 5 March 2012

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Pentagon’s advanced research arm DARPA are working together to create a self-healing cloud computing network that can defend against cyberattacks

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Pentagon’s advanced research arm DARPA are working together to create a self-healing cloud computing network that can defend against cyberattacks.

InformationWeek reports that existing computer networks shut down they are attacked, regardless of which portion was hit. Researchers hope to create a new model that is capable of sensing an attack when it occurs and defending against it.

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,” explained Professor Martin Rinard, the principal investigator at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). “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.”

Before researchers can create this system, they must determine what a “healthy” cloud system looks like, something that has yet to be done. Once researchers understand what the normal conditions are for a cloud network, they can then begin creating a system that senses when things are out of the ordinary and return things to its previous state.

Under the government’s “Cloud First” policy, federal agencies are beginning to migrate their systems to the cloud, making security increasingly critical. So far the Army is in the process of moving its internal email system to a private cloud hosted by the Defense Information System Agency.