Thursday, June 2, 2011

WFU Professor Training Digital Ants

As the nation’s electrical power grid becomes more interconnected through the Internet — from the nuclear power plant in California to transmission lines in Texas to the microwave in your kitchen — the chances of cyber attacks increase as well.

Professor of Computer Science Errin Fulp is training an army of “digital ants” to turn loose into the power grid to seek out computer viruses trying to wreak havoc on the system.

If the approach proves successful in safeguarding the power grid, it could have wide-ranging applications on protecting anything connected to SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) networks, computer systems that control everything from water and sewer management systems to mass transit systems to manufacturing systems.

More news about digital ants:
From TG Daily: Digital ants check networks for viruses
From Tech2: Virus protection takes inspiration from ants
From InfoSecurity: Can digital ants protect computer networks?
From Gather Technology: Researchers hope to use digital ant antivirus to protect the grid
From International Business Times: Researchers working on digital ants to flush out virus in computer networks

Fulp is working this summer with scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Wash., on the next steps in the digital ants technology, developed by PNNL and Wake Forest over the last several years. The approach is so promising that it was named one of the “ten technologies that have the power to change our lives,” by Scientific American magazine last year.

Learn more.

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