Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Eliminate costly downtime!
Find out how with Free White Paper
& enter to win a Samsung Galaxy Note

www.apc.com
Hardware
24/7/365 Network Uptime
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Researchers Predict
Researchers Predict 'Best Timing' for Cyberattacks

By Barry Levine
January 15, 2014 11:22AM

    Bookmark and Share
The question of the timing of a cyberattack is analogous to the question of when to use a double agent to mislead the enemy. Although it may be worth waiting for an important event, waiting too long may mean the double agent has been discovered by the target and becomes useless, said researchers who have developed a model to predict cyberattacks.
 



Can the best time to launch a cyberattacks be predicted? Researchers at the University of Michigan say they have developed a mathematical model that can do just that.

The model analyzes when a potential attacker is most likely to hit. Robert Axelrod, professor of political science and public policy at Michigan’s Ford School, told news media that the model he developed with postdoctoral research fellow Rumen Illiev creates some new concepts for dealing with computer attacks by pinpointing the best time to use specific cyber methods. Axelrod compared their work, which is focused on the strategic dimensions of cyberattacks, to the strategic considerations for the use of nuclear weapons.

The concepts are built around stealth, analyzing the ability of a resource to exploit a vulnerability in a computer system but remain undiscovered if it is used, and persistence, the ability of a vulnerability to remain undiscovered if it is not used. Illiev noted that a successful attack would be built around both stealth and persistence.

Like a Double Agent

“The question of timing is analogous to the question of when to use a double agent to mislead the enemy, where it may be worth waiting for an important event but waiting too long may mean the double agent has been discovered by the target and becomes useless," the researchers noted in their paper, published last month by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Other variables include the weapon’s value, a function in part of its stealth and persistence; the current and future stakes; the threshold of stakes that would cause an attacker to use the weapon; and what the researchers call the “discount rate” -- the fact that using the weapon today could be more valuable to the attacker than doing so later.

The model shows that it is better to use stealthier weapons sooner rather than later, and that the use of more persistent weapons can be postponed. Those observations may seem to be fairly obvious, but the model fits several instances of actual attacks.

‘Rational Timing of Surprise’

These instances included the famed Stuxnet worm, which the model described as having low persistence -- because it employed four zero-day exploits -- but a high level of stealth. The weapon was much more valuable being used sooner rather than later, since the aim was to delay the ability of Iran to develop nuclear-grade uranium.

The researchers said that working from their model, Stuxnet was “expected to have poor persistence and comparatively good stealth,” which is how it was used.

Similarly, a cyberattack by Iran on Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabian Oil Co.) was not stealthy and the stakes required quick action. By contrast, the researchers said that Chinese cyberattacks are not usually conducted at the most optimal times, but they said it’s hard to understand why a nation-state might choose some less-than-effective occasion.

This, of course, points to the model’s weakness, in that it expects attackers to be rational actors, attacking at the most opportune moment for the greatest leverage, given the stakes and the choice of weapons.

In fact, the researchers describe their model as a way to study “the rational timing of surprise.”
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



APC has an established a reputation for solid products that virtually pay for themselves upon installation. Who has time to spend worrying about system downtime? APC makes it easy for you to focus on business growth instead of business downtime with reliable data center systems and IT solutions. Learn more here.


 Hardware
1.   AMD Debuts 64-Bit ARM Server Chips
2.   MacBook Pros Get Update, Price Cut
3.   Watson's First Consumer-Facing Gig
4.   China To Call Qualcomm a Monopoly
5.   Design Central to Microsoft Future


advertisement
AMD Debuts 64-Bit ARM Server Chips
New Opterons target data center needs.
Average Rating:
Design Central to Microsoft Future
New ethos a break from functional past.
Average Rating:
Most Networks Not Ready for IoT
But most enterprises are prepared.
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Tor Internet Privacy Service Warns Users It Was Breached
You may never have heard of the Tor Project, but the Internet privacy service is making headlines. Tor’s devs say users might be victims of an attack launched against the project earlier this year.
 
Canadian Government Charges China With Cyberattack
The government of Canada is not happy with China. Canadian officials have accused "a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor" of launching a cyberattack on its National Research Council.
 
Researchers Working To Fix Tor Security Exploit
Developers for the Tor privacy browser are scrambling to fix a bug revealed Monday that researchers say could allow hackers, or government surveillance agencies, to track users online.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
AMD's ARM-Based Opteron Out in $3K Dev Kit
It's dubbed "Seattle" and it's AMD's first 64-bit ARM-based Opteron processor. The low-power chip is being released as part of AMD’s Opteron A1100-series developer kit, and aimed at high-end data center needs.
 
Apple Updates MacBook Pros, Cuts Prices Up to $100
The popular MacBook Pro laptop line just got an update and a price cut of as much as $100. The MacBook Pro with Retina display now includes faster processors and double the memory.
 
Dell, BlackBerry Not Sweating Apple-IBM Alliance
IBM's recent move to partner with Apple to sell iPhones and iPads loaded with corporate applications has excited investors in both companies, but two rivals say they are unperturbed for now.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Virgin Mobile Offers Custom Smartphone Plans
As the wireless carrier wars continue heating up, Virgin Mobile just threw the customization coal onto the fire. The firm has debuted a no-annual-contract plan with rates based on individual use.
 
Collaboration Provider Asana Revamps Mobile App
Asana, a collaboration software provider started by a Facebook founder, is now out with a rebuilt native iOS mobile app. It replaces one that even the company admits was not up to par.
 
Facebook: You Will Use Messenger, and You Will Like It
Starting this week, Facebook users with Android and iOS phones will be forced to use the separate Messenger app to send Facebook messages. Pending messages will still be visible in the main app.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | CRM Systems | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.