pentagon searches for ‘digital dna’ to identify hackers

pentagon searches for ‘digital dna’ to identify hackersfrom danger room: One of the trickiest problems in cyber security is trying to figure who’s really behind an attack. Darpa, the Pentagon agency that created the Internet, is trying to fix that, with a new effort to develop the “cyber equivalent of fingerprints or DNA” that can identify even the best-cloaked hackers…

It’s the kind of problem Darpa will try to solve with its “Cyber Genome” project. The idea “is to produce revolutionary cyber defense and investigatory technologies for the collection, identification, characterization, and presentation of properties and relationships from collected digital artifacts of software, data, and/or users,” the agency announced late Monday. These “digital artifacts” will be collected from “traditional computers, personal digital assistants, and/or distributed information systems such as ‘cloud computers’,” as well as “from wired or wireless networks, or collected storage media. The format may include electronic documents or software (to include malicious software – malware).”

“In other words,” The Register’s Lew Page notes, “any code you write, perhaps even any document you create, might one day be traceable back to you – just as your DNA could be if found at a crime scene, and just as it used to be possible to identify radio operators even on encrypted channels by the distinctive ‘fist’ with which they operated their Morse keys. Or something like that, anyway.”

The Cyber Genome project kicks off this week with a conference in Virginia.

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