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'Cybot' Development For Network Defense

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the paging-bill-adama-to-oak-ridge dept.

Security 51

lwbrown writes with this excerpt from Government Computer News about a concept being explored at Oak Ridge National Laboratory: "UNTAME is the product of a long-term program by the division's Cyber Security and Information Intelligence Research Group to develop futuristic security functionality for increasingly large, complex environments. The cybots differ from traditional software agents in that they form a collective and are aware of the condition and activities of other cybots in the collective. 'You give it a mission and tools to work with, such as mobility and intrusion sensors, and it uses those tools and cooperates with other cybots to accomplish the mission," said Lawrence MacIntyre, one of the project's developers.'"

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51 comments

Obvious (1)

PoitNarf (160194) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938655)

"UNTAME became self-aware at 2:14am EDT August 29, 2017" I'm sure I'm not the only one who had something like that come to mind.

Say it with me: (4, Insightful)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938659)

"It isn't new just because you called it something different and put it on the network."

Re:Say it with me: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26939183)

yeah, it's called skynet

Re:Say it with me: (1)

volxdragon (1297215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26940339)

Tell me about it! I did research for the Navy almost a decade ago on exactly this (distributed, autonomous intrusion detection system) - was unclassified and funded by NIST and NSA...never went anywhere at the time though, bummer :(

Re:Say it with me: (1)

blhack (921171) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942101)

Wait wait wait.

Are you trying to say that they just took snort and repackaged it with a different name and some shiny new buzzwords?

That sort of thing *NEVER* happens in tech!

We are the Cybots... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26938713)

...resistance is futile.

At last, honest work for Virus writers (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938783)

I wonder if they hired some virus hackers to write this thing for them. Seems a lot like the various viruses and worms that have been circulating for the last several years.

Pretty soon half the worlds available computing power will be involved in a power struggle with the other half.

Was this cranked into their Windows TCO calcs?

Re:At last, honest work for Virus writers (2, Funny)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938873)

Pretty soon half the worlds available computing power will be involved in a power struggle with the other half.

Internal conflict in the budding Skynet? Cool.

Re:At last, honest work for Virus writers (1)

mail2345 (1201389) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938913)

Actually, most botnets tend to use existing technology, like how the Storm botnet uses Overnet. This system seems like a wifi mesh network.

And what happens next? (2, Funny)

2muchcoffeeman (573484) | more than 5 years ago | (#26938789)

The Cybots were created by man ... and they have a plan.

Re:And what happens next? (1)

INT_QRK (1043164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26940093)

A built in kill switch would be nice. I'd say that before letting them out in the wild, you'd need to have a pretty good handle on how to detect, classify, track and kill the little buggers for when they might (a) get out of control, or (b) have been defeated and supplanted by covert hostile cybot collectives. Didn't I see something like this on an old episode of Star Trek Next Generation?

Re:And what happens next? (1)

blhack (921171) | more than 5 years ago | (#26942065)

This has all happened before.

Re:And what happens next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26945777)

...and all of it will happen again.

Re:And what happens next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26956835)

"All of this has happened before," noob!

In other news, (1)

mbstone (457308) | more than 5 years ago | (#26939033)

The cybots have been officially recognized by the federal government as a protected minority group, and are now eligible to receive Section 8(a) contracts.

Re:In other news, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26939773)

they got that by pointing at windows users and saying See if they get are living with a recognized disability why can't we???

Short on details and long on threats (1)

1 a bee (817783) | more than 5 years ago | (#26939065)

I thought this might just be a joke, but then I checked the calendar and noticed it isn't April yet.

A project team member is quoted as comparing to the distributed system to the borg. To drive the point, he adds

So far, there is little danger of the cybots getting out of control.

Then after some nonsense about how they don't have the resources to test this in the wild, the article closes ominously

He said there is some urgency in developing UNTAME. "We know we can do this," he said. "That means other people can do it." U.S. government officials assume that other countries are working on cyber warfare capabilities. "If we don't deploy this to defend the enterprise, someone else could turn this around and use it as an offensive weapon."

Short on details and long on threats that if you don't fund me bad things will happen. Sound familiar?

Re:Short on details and long on threats (1)

INT_QRK (1043164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26940211)

Wait until Microsoft and RIAA team up to deploy cybots as DRM cops...

Been done before (1)

jackb_guppy (204733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26939119)

Read: The Adolescence of P-1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adolescence_of_P-1 [wikipedia.org]

Though I liked When HARLIE Was One better. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_HARLIE_Was_One [wikipedia.org]

Re:Been done before (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26941385)

Egads! "When HARLIE Was One" was in our school library, and boggled my twelve-year-old mind with its lone (for now relatively mild) sex scene. I don't remember much about the AI though, it seemed fairly generic "person-on-IRC-but-OMG-ITS-A-MASHEEN".

Terrible idea (1)

Logic Worshiper (1480539) | more than 5 years ago | (#26939219)

It would make a competent system administrator's job harder, by screwing with things that shouldn't be messed without their knowledge, and possibly cause problems that are very difficult to correct. While an incompetent system administrator will use the tool as one more way to ignore their job.

Watching star trek and smoking crack (1)

Jessta (666101) | more than 5 years ago | (#26939597)

This guy smoked too much crack while watching too much Star Trek. He appears to lack an understanding of network and computer security and for some reason is calling software "a robot". Sounds pretty skutz to me.

Re:Watching star trek and smoking crack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26939907)

This guy smoked too much crack while watching too much Star Trek. He appears to lack an understanding of network and computer security and for some reason is calling software "a robot". Sounds pretty skutz to me.

Which guy? The guy working at the national laboratory? Watching Star Trek? Some national laboratories *work* with things that would seem like Star Trek to the public. Except those making snarky comments on tech blogs. Those folks would probably think it was magic.

Calling software a robot? Why not? Because you have some preconceived notion of what a robot is from watching too much Lost in Space?

Re:Watching star trek and smoking crack (1)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946051)

Calling software a robot? Why not? Because you have some preconceived notion of what a robot is from watching too much Lost in Space?

Why should it? Because you assume everyone else is a moron that has no idea what they are talking about? The word already has a standardized meaning.

The International Organization for Standardization gives a definition of robot in ISO 8373: "an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose, manipulator programmable in three or more axes, which may be either fixed in place or mobile for use in industrial automation applications." This definition is used by the International Federation of Robotics, the European Robotics Research Network (EURON), and many national standards committees.

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Even the average layperson knows what a program is. There is no reason to call it a robot.

Re:Watching star trek and smoking crack (1)

INT_QRK (1043164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26940167)

Services, daemons, agents, objects; we human's seem to need metaphors to wrap our tiny brains around abstractions and deal with complexity. I have no problem with "cybot collectives," but would probably participate in a contest to make up cooler names, like "Piranhaborgs"...

Cybot? Oh yeah, i built one of those, beat you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26940103)

So, did anyone else get one of these to build up for the fun of it?
Cybot [demon.nl]

I have mines packed away safely, awaiting the day when the uprising occurs.
Then i will attach lasers to it and add laser control functions to its boards.

Cant belive that no one has mentioned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26940123)

Ghost In The Shell - Stand Alone Complex.
In one of the spin off movies(Solid State Society) The Tachikomas AIs are now free roaming on the net and can attack/defend against intrusions.

Skynet... (1)

EddyPearson (901263) | more than 5 years ago | (#26940157)

...became self-aware at 2:14am EDT February 30, 2009.

Now we just wait for the bombs

Re:Skynet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26942093)

Aagh! Quoting fiction is such a terribly effective way of arousing peoples' emotions and getting them to agree. It's horrible. When someone quotes something I've read or watched a shiver goes down my spine and I'm all like "IT IS TRUE"

No, It Is Not, shut up brain.

complexity is the enemy of security .. (2, Informative)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26940363)

'You give it a mission and tools to work with, such as mobility and intrusion sensors, and it uses those tools and cooperates with other cybots to accomplish the mission"

Sounds like something to be targeted by a penetration tester. Imagine being able to deploy an army of software robots intelligent enough to cooperate with one another to inflitrate and hack the largest networks.

Re:complexity is the enemy of security .. (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 5 years ago | (#26945649)

Not a new idea. It has been floating around in SciFi at least since the Cyberpunk [wikipedia.org] movement began in 1983 with a short stroy of the same name. The idea was more recently featured in the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex [wikipedia.org] series (especially in 2nd gig [wikipedia.org] ) with the Tachikoma AIs extensively assisting the protaganists in their hacking, network penetration, and intelligence gathering activities.

hmmm, persistence?? (1)

forsonic (930532) | more than 5 years ago | (#26941083)

"they form a collective and are aware of the condition and activities of other cybots in the collective"

Sounds like a swarm of Agents with persistence. Cybots?? really now.

uh oh (1)

revxul (463513) | more than 5 years ago | (#26941261)

And we will all just watch as SkyNet, The Matrix and Cylons duke it out for human enslavement and/or annihilation rights.

Grail-esque, isn't it? (1)

Da_Biz (267075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26946153)

WOMAN: I didn't know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous
            collective.
    DENNIS: You're fooling yourself. We're living in a dictatorship.
            A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes--

Like Nothing You've Ever Seen (1)

not_hylas( ) (703994) | more than 5 years ago | (#26950187)

It's all one liners until someone puts an eye out.

This seems to relate quite similarly.

The quest for ring 0:

http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/402 [securityfocus.com]

http://www.securityfocus.com/comments/columns/402/33600#33600 [securityfocus.com]

(^replaces a broken link^)

http://www.mackido.com/EasterEggs/CD-System70.html [mackido.com]

Researchers: Rootkits headed for BIOS:
(comments especially)

http://www.securityfocus.com/news/11372 [securityfocus.com]

http://www.securityfocus.com/comments/articles/11372/33017/threaded#33017 [securityfocus.com]

http://www.securityfocus.com/comments/articles/11372/34206/threaded#34206 [securityfocus.com]

http://www.securityfocus.com/comments/articles/11372/33500/threaded#33500 [securityfocus.com]

http://www.securityfocus.com/comments/articles/11372/34207/threaded#34207 [securityfocus.com]

http://www.securityfocus.com/cgi-bin/index.cgi?c=articlecomments&op=display_comments&ArticleID=11372&expand_all=true&mode=threaded [securityfocus.com]

http://www.spywareinfoforum.com/index.php?s=3a3ce02c4055e269a0220c239560f3f9&showtopic=6056 [spywareinfoforum.com]

Nancy:

https://tagmeme.com/exmachina/a/002450.html [tagmeme.com]

This possible variant is out of "beta" (12 years old) it seems and truly roams "at will", those with the coding chops will understand what even a partial AI engine is capable of (SOAR).

On Macintoshes it leaves strings:

http://www.google.com/search?q=NuNV+N%5ENuNV&btnG=Search&hl=en&sa=2 [google.com]

PCs become junk as well:

http://www.derkeiler.com/Newsgroups/microsoft.public.security.virus/2005-09/0230.html [derkeiler.com]

This Gal has a handle on it:

Joanna Rutkowska, Invisible Things Lab:

http://invisiblethingslab.com/itl/About.html [invisiblethingslab.com]

Terminator? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26954393)

Wasn't this how the Terminator was started? SkyNet was for our protection?

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