Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Cyberagents on Patrol

If Steven Goldsmith of Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque gets his way, one day every computer on the Internet will be part of a massive, cooperative security force. At the heart of the system are intelligent agents-artificial intelligence programs that interact with their environments. The agents watch the network, looking for irregularities such as those produced by intruders gently probing security defenses over a long period of time. Upon detecting abnormal activity, the agents can swing into action by closing data ports, rejecting viruses or cutting a computer commandeered by a malicious insider off from the network.

The strength of the strategy is that it is distributed, requiring no specialized security computers-machines that become favorite targets for attack. In addition, the agents can share information and form a consensus about the nature of an irregularity. The Linux-based system will be ready for use in government and businesses next year, with consumer versions available in three years.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Print Subscription.
  • Print Subscription {! insider.prices.print_only !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six print issues per year plus The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Print magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    The Download: newsletter delivered daily

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.