DARPA Selects Adventium Labs for Advanced Cyber Security Research Project

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected Adventium Labs as one of the performers on its Cyber Fault-tolerant Attack Recovery (CFAR) program, worth $5.4M over 42 months if all options are awarded. The CFAR goal is to protect existing and planned software systems in both military and civilian contexts without requiring changes to the concept of operations of these systems. The plan to accomplish this is to develop technology to allow complex software systems to be rearranged into multiple variants that perform the same functions, but by using different processes and supporting software. Executing multiple variants simultaneously on a fault-tolerant platform will present a harder target to attack because the variants will be designed to respond differently to attacks.

Adventium’s role is to generate functionally equivalent variants using information synchronization.  Information synchronization combines program analysis, automated detection of redundant functions and code sequences, and behavioral specifications to generate functionally equivalent variants. Researchers from the University of Minnesota Department of Computer Science and Engineering are key members of the team. Their role is to analyze the software system to identify the places where it makes sense to focus on generating the functional equivalences. 

Initially, the technology will assist a human user in understanding the redundancies and other choice points for generating variants. The work will then be extended to automatically generate as many variants as are requested, by systematically choosing among the possible variants at each choice point indicated by the user. The resulting set of variants will be provided to other CFAR performers that are monitoring the software for divergences in behavior among the variants that may indicate an attack. 

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