The Defense Advanced Research Agency sees a problem: “Modern computing systems act as black boxes in that they accept inputs and generate outputs but provide little to no visibility of their internal workings. This greatly limits our ability to understand cyber behaviors at the level of detail necessary to detect and counter some of the most important types of cyber threats.”
That’s why the Pentagon’s futuristic R&D wing is preparing to solicit ideas Dec. 15 via a proposers’ day for something it calls “transparent computing.” It’s a possible solution to the fact that some of the most advanced cyber threats (Advanced Persistent Threats, or APTs) remain dormant in a system for a long period of time, hidden in various individual places in that system and blending in with other functions.
The language is a little dense, but here’s the concept, per an announcement last week:
The Transparent Computing (TC) program aims to make currently opaque computing systems transparent by providing high-fidelity visibility into component interactions during system operation across all layers of software abstraction… By automatically or semi-automatically “connecting the dots” across multiple activities that are individually legitimate but collectively indicate malice or abnormal behavior, TC will enable the prompt detection of APTs and other cyber threats, and allow complete root cause analysis and damage assessment once adversary activity is identified.