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Scientists develop new system to alternate reality to mislead hackers

Researchers have created alternative realities to mislead cyberintruders and cast doubt upon their disclosures.

  • Published: December 5, 2017 8:46 AM IST
cyber-crime

Scientists have developed a new anti-hacker system, which rather than simply blocking an intruder, deploys an alternative reality – feeding the attacker with false data. The High-fidelity Adaptive Deception & Emulation System (HADES), developed by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in the US, feeds a hacker not what he needs to know but what he wants to believe. Also Read - Beware! Scammers are using Google ads for stealing cryptocurrency

“Simply kicking a hacker out is next to useless. The hacker has asymmetry on his side; we have to guard a hundred possible entry points and a hacker only needs to penetrate one to get in,” said Vince Urias, Sandia National Laboratories. Rather than being summarily removed from a data source, a discovered hacker is led unobtrusively into HADES, where cloned virtual hard drives, memory and data sets create a simulation very much like the reality. Also Read - Beware! Fake e-commerce website scams increasing during festive season sales

However, certain artifacts have been deliberately, but not obviously, altered. “So, a hacker may report to his handler that he or she has cracked our system and will be sending back reports on what we’re doing,” Urias said. “They may have received a year or so of false information before realising something is wrong. A hacker informing his boss that he’s discovered a problem doesn’t do his reputation much good, he’s discredited,” he said. Also Read - Free Fire addiction lead two kids spend nearly 1 lakh from parents’ bank account

“And then the adversary must check all data obtained from us because they don’t know when we started falsifying,” he added.

Furthermore, when a hacker finally puzzles out something is wrong, he must display his toolkit as he tries to discern truth from fiction. “It used to be that technologically we couldn’t move a visitor to a different reality without them knowing but there’s been a radical change in networking in the last 10 to 15 years, from hardware to software,” said Urias.

“With the ephemerality of the network fabric, I can change realities without a hacker knowing,” he said. HADES can operate in multiple modes from a small organisation without resources to a large company, researchers said. Like any technique, HADES has its limitations. While the simplest deceptive environment can be done on a small private computer, environments of greater fidelity require more CPU and memory resources and may thereby reduce the number of virtual environments deployable on a single server.

The technique has allowed the researchers to locate malware an adversary has placed in a system, and is capable of active attack.

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  • Published Date: December 5, 2017 8:46 AM IST



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