A forensics investigation after a breach often uncovers network and host indicators of compromise (IOCs) that can be deployed to sensors to allow early detection of the adversary in the future. Over time, the adversary will change tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), which will also change the data generated. If the IOCs are not kept up-to-date with the adversary's new TTPs, the adversary will no longer be detected once all of the IOCs become invalid. Tracking the Known (TTK) is the problem of keeping IOCs, in this case regular expression (regexes), up-to-date with a dynamic adversary. Our framework solves the TTK problem in an automated, cyclic fashion to bracket a previously discovered adversary. This tracking is accomplished through a data-driven approach of self-adapting a given model based on its own detection capabilities.In our initial experiments, we found that the true positive rate (TPR) of the adaptive solution degrades much less significantly over time than the naïve solution, suggesting that self-updating the model allows the continued detection of positives (i.e., adversaries). The cost for this performance is in the false positive rate (FPR), which increases over time for the adaptive solution, but remains constant for the naïve solution. However, the difference in overall detection performance, as measured by the area under the curve (AUC), between the two methods is negligible. This result suggests that self-updating the model over time should be done in practice to continue to detect known, evolving adversaries.

Biological neural networks continue to inspire new developments in algorithms and microelectronic hardware to solve challenging data processing and classification problems. Here, we survey the history of neural-inspired and neuromorphic computing in order to examine the complex and intertwined trajectories of the mathematical theory and hardware developed in this field. Early research focused on adapting existing hardware to emulate the pattern recognition capabilities of living organisms. Contributions from psychologists, mathematicians, engineers, neuroscientists, and other professions were crucial to maturing the field from narrowly-tailored demonstrations to more generalizable systems capable of addressing difficult problem classes such as object detection and speech recognition. Algorithms that leverage fundamental principles found in neuroscience such as hierarchical structure, temporal integration, and robustness to error have been developed, and some of these approaches are achieving world-leading performance on particular data classification tasks. In addition, novel microelectronic hardware is being developed to perform logic and to serve as memory in neuromorphic computing systems with optimized system integration and improved energy efficiency. Key to such advancements was the incorporation of new discoveries in neuroscience research, the transition away from strict structural replication and towards the functional replication of neural systems, and the use of mathematical theory frameworks to guide algorithm and hardware developments.

This project evaluates the effectiveness of moving target defense (MTD) techniques using a new game we have designed, called PLADD, inspired by the game FlipIt [28]. PLADD extends FlipIt by incorporating what we believe are key MTD concepts. We have analyzed PLADD and proven the existence of a defender strategy that pushes a rational attacker out of the game, demonstrated how limited the strategies available to an attacker are in PLADD, and derived analytic expressions for the expected utility of the game’s players in multiple game variants. We have created an algorithm for finding a defender’s optimal PLADD strategy. We show that in the special case of achieving deterrence in PLADD, MTD is not always cost effective and that its optimal deployment may shift abruptly from not using MTD at all to using it as aggressively as possible. We believe our effort provides basic, fundamental insights into the use of MTD, but conclude that a truly practical analysis requires model selection and calibration based on real scenarios and empirical data. We propose several avenues for further inquiry, including (1) agents with adaptive capabilities more reflective of real world adversaries, (2) the presence of multiple, heterogeneous adversaries, (3) computational game theory-based approaches such as coevolution to allow scaling to the real world beyond the limitations of analytical analysis and classical game theory, (4) mapping the game to real-world scenarios, (5) taking player risk into account when designing a strategy (in addition to expected payoff), (6) improving our understanding of the dynamic nature of MTD-inspired games by using a martingale representation, defensive forecasting, and techniques from signal processing, and (7) using adversarial games to develop inherently resilient cyber systems.