Newsletters
Customer Relationship Management News NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
Home CRM Systems Customer Service Contact Centers Business Intelligence More Topics...
Network Security
See data differently
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:





 Network Security
1.   Tor Working To Fix Security Exploit
2.   Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
3.   Dropbox for Business Boosts Security
4.   Hackers Breached StubHub Accounts
5.   Banks Hit by Android-Skirting Malware


advertisement
Tor Working To Fix Security Exploit
Bug reportedly reveals ID of users
Average Rating:
New Technology Defeats Privacy Efforts
Study identifies 3 browser techniques.
Average Rating:
Banks Hit by Android-Skirting Malware
34 institutions, four European countries
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
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.
 
Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
Hacked again. That’s the story at the Wall Street Journal this week as the newspaper reports that the computer systems housing some of its news graphics were breached. Customers not affected -- yet.
 
Dropbox for Business Beefs Up Security
Dropbox is upping its game for business users. The cloud-based storage and sharing company has rolled out new security, search and other features to boost its appeal for businesses.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Watson Gets His First Customer Service Gig
Since appearing on Jeopardy, IBM's Watson supercomputer has been making a living using his super-intelligent knowledge base for business verticals. Now, Watson's been hired for his first customer service job.
 
Tablet Giants Apple and Samsung Feel the Heat
When a company saturates its home market with a once-hot product, expect it to pump up efforts elsewhere. Apple, for its part, is now pushing iPads to big corporations and the enterprise market.
 
Microsoft Makes Design Central to Its Future
Over the last four years, Microsoft has doubled the number of designers it employs, putting a priority on fashioning devices that work around people's lives -- and that are attractive and cool.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
T-Mobile Calls 'BS' on AT&T's New Promotion
While Verizon Wireless is moving to throttle bandwidth hogs, a scrappy T-Mobile is taking on the giants with a limited-time promotion it hopes will drive up the churn rates of its wireless rivals.
 
Microsoft Update to Windows Phone 8.1 Already Coming
An update to Windows Phone 8.1 is on the way just weeks after the release of the product itself. Microsoft has begun detailing some of the update features to phone manufacturers.
 
Stanford Researchers Report Battery Breakthrough
Stanford researchers have found a way to use lithium in a battery's anode, a breakthrough that could triple capacity and has been described as the "holy grail of battery science."
 

Navigation
CRM Daily
Home/Top News | CRM Systems | Customer Service | Contact Centers | Business Intelligence | Sales & Marketing | Customer Data | CRM 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.