The Shifting Defense

The Shifting Defense

As the world gets more and more connected, cybersecurity is becoming a major global concern. Since hackers are becoming more innovative in their exploits, the security solutions set up to deal with these attacks must be creative as well. In line with this mindset, researchers have begun to test a new cybersecurity paradigm that hides important data by constantly "moving" its location in the Internet.

This new approach, which is known as moving target defense (MTD), is designed to eliminate the weakness inherent in most modern cybersecurity systems. Normally, network security is passive in nature - that is, it will only react once the intruder has already penetrated the system. As a result, hackers are given ample time to plan and carefully execute their attack, leaving the network vulnerable in the long run.

MTD solves this problem by constantly changing the IP addresses assigned to the network devices through the use of software-defined networking (SDN). By using SDN principles, the devices' IP addresses are masked with dynamic virtual addresses that change frequently. This makes it harder to find system vulnerabilities, as from the attackers' viewpoint, the access point of their targets are constantly changing.

So far, MTD has been extremely promising, with preliminary results already having been demonstrated last month. Currently, tests are being conducted with regards to the impact of the MTD approach on system performance, as the processing power required to constantly maintain this proactive defense measure can have adverse effects in the network. Still, the method's advocates firmly believe that MTD is the next step in the evolution of cybersecurity as we know it.

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