New project to help computer systems protect themselves against attacks

Cyber attacks on the Internet are not only becoming more and more common, but also more sophisticated and complex. A new project at Linnaeus University in Sweden, funded with SEK 3 million by the Knowledge Foundation, will result in techniques and tools to create a protecting layer for software systems against attacks.

We are all in the danger zone, as attacks on the Internet target everybody, from individuals to companies, banks, the military, government agencies etc. Their consequences range from inaccessible services and severe disruptions to economic losses and personal records adrift.

The number of attacks is increasing and the attacks become more sophisticated and advanced. Furthermore, today's software systems are becoming more and more evolving to adapt themselves, which makes reactive security techniques like firewalls and encryption no longer solely effective. Therefore, a system needs robust security mechanisms that evolve and improve over time to defend itself as well. This is what Linnaeus University's new PROSSES project aims to develop in collaboration with the industrial partners Outpost24 and Omegapoint.

– The core objective of PROSSES is proposing techniques and tools to design a protecting layer for a system that is able to scale up to protect large-scale systems, says Narges Khakpour, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science and Project Manager.

PROSSES stands for Provably Secure Self-Protecting Systems. To achieve self-protection, a system must monitor its own behaviour, analyse the information gathered to detect potential threats, plan a defence strategy to protect the system against detected and future attacks, and apply this strategy in the system. The team of researchers will develop techniques and tools for this, and demonstrate the framework applicability in practice by applying it on security-critical industrial systems.

– The design and analysis of such complex systems can only be managed with sophisticated techniques with a solid mathematical and logical basis, collectively known as formal methods. These methods are often supported by powerful tools to describe and analyse the system, says Narges Khakpour.

The PROSSES project has been funded with SEK 3 149 130 by KK-stiftelsen (the Knowledge Foundation), on the ground that "the scientific competence is great and a new and untried effort to protect computer systems from infringement will be developed and tested". The outcomes will definitely be of benefit for both industry and academia, Narges Khakpour states:

– The project results will increase the security of today's systems. That will consequently lead to preventing disclosure and/or misuse of our sensitive information – such as personal, health, financial or any other information – which may have severe financial or social consequences for us.

Learn more at the project's web page.


Narges Khakpour, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science and Project Manager, +46 (0)470-70 87 04,
Anders Runesson, Research Communications Officer, +46 (0)470-70 81 70,

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