Visible to the public An Evolutionary-Inspired Approach for Moving Target Defenses


Moving Target (MT) environments provide security through diversity by changing various system properties that are explicitly defined in the computer configuration. Temporal diversity can be achieved by making periodic configuration changes; however in an infrastructure of multiple similarly purposed computers diversity must also be spatial, ensuring multiple computers do not simultaneously share the same configuration and potential vulnerabilities. Given the number of possible changes and their potential interdependencies discovering computer configurations that are secure, functional, and diverse, is challenging.

A Genetic Algorithm (GA) can be employed to find temporally and spatially diverse secure computer configurations. In the proposed approach a computer configuration is modeled as a chromosome, where an individual configuration setting is a trait or allele. The GA operates by combining multiple chromosomes (configurations) which are tested for feasibility and ranked based on performance which will be measured as resistance to attack. Successive iterations of the GA yield configurations that are often more secure and diverse due to the crossover and mutation processes.

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An Evolutionary-Inspired Approach for Moving Target Defenses