Herself's Artificial Intelligence

Humans, meet your replacements.

Virtual ant swarms to hunt down computer worms

So are we ready yet to hand over some of the control of our computers to evolving virtual creatures to do the dirty work for us? What happens when a virtual war breaks out on your home network? Do you get to watch the battles?

If we hand over this control how far are we willing to let virtual creatures evolve? Will they develop personality disorders and call work stoppages?

The future is closer than you think, turn around to look and you may get mowed down.

In the never-ending battle to protect computer networks from intruders, security experts are deploying a new defense modeled after one of nature’s hardiest creatures — the ant.

Unlike traditional security devices, which are static, these “digital ants” wander through computer networks looking for threats, such as “computer worms” — self-replicating programs designed to steal information or facilitate unauthorized use of machines. When a digital ant detects a threat, it doesn’t take long for an army of ants to converge at that location, drawing the attention of human operators who step in to investigate.

The concept, called “swarm intelligence,” promises to transform cyber security because it adapts readily to changing threats.

“In nature, we know that ants defend against threats very successfully,” explains Professor of Computer Science Errin Fulp, an expert in security and computer networks. “They can ramp up their defense rapidly, and then resume routine behavior quickly after an intruder has been stopped. We were trying to achieve that same framework in a computer system.” . . .

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More information
Autonomic Computing freedom or threat?
EW Fulp Publications