Federal Cybersecurity R&D

Moving Target

Research into Moving Target (MT) technologies will enable us to create, analyze, evaluate, and deploy mechanisms and strategies that are diverse and that continually shift and change over time to increase complexity and cost for attackers, limit the exposure of vulnerabilities and opportunities for attack, and increase system resiliency. The characteristics of a MT system are dynamically altered in ways that are manageable by the defender yet make the attack space appear unpredictable to the attacker.

MT strategies aim to substantially increase the cost of attacks by deploying and operating networks and systems in a manner that makes them less deterministic, less homogeneous, and less static.

Research is required to:
  • Develop abstractions and methods that will enable scientific reasoning regarding MT mechanisms and their effectiveness
  • Characterize the vulnerability space and understand the effect of system randomization on the ability to exploit those vulnerabilities
  • Understand the effect of randomization of individual components on the behavior of complex systems, with respect to both their resiliency and their ability to evade threats
  • Develop a control mechanism that can abstract the complexity of MT systems and enable sound, resilient system management
  • Enable the adaptation of MT mechanisms as the understanding of system behavior matures and our threat evolves

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