A Human Connection to Intrusion Detection

Researchers at the University of Nottingham want to use the human body’s immune system as a model for protecting computer systems. Computer science professor Uwe Aickelin and his colleagues are collaborating with immunologists at the University of the West of England in Bristol to build a computer intrusion detection system that has an artificial immune system. “The University of the West of England is carrying out ‘wet’ experiments to look at various aspects of cell behavior and passing on their findings to us,” explains Jamie Twycross, research associate with the Automated Scheduling Optimization and Planning Lab at the University of Nottingham. “We use the results to try and build a computational model.” The immunologists are employing the controversial “danger theory,” which holds that a complex system that accesses the origin, seriousness, and frequency of the danger signals the human immune system. Twycross is working to recreate, for an artificial immune system, the process in which garbage-collecting dendric cells that roam the body transform into fighter cells to battle an infection. Similarly, the software would be able to assess threats to computer systems by gathering information from a number of sources.
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