CCE Theses and Dissertations


Computer System Self-Defense Through Object Self/Non-Self Recognition

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Gregory Simco

Committee Member

Sumitra Mukherjee

Committee Member

James D. Cannady


Knowing that an object does not belong to an authorized set of objects is an important step in computer system defense. Dr. Stephanie Forrest of the University of New Mexico compared the process of computer system defense to the process used by living organisms to defend against diseases, viruses and other foreign agents. Dr. Forrest's thesis was to develop a methodology for identifying the self to use intrusion detection to detect non-self-agents. An alternative to this external view is a system that contains its own self-defense mechanism. The project proposed that an internal function could be used to differentiate between self and non-self-objects by creating unique identifiers for computer systems as the human DNA differentiates individuals. This research developed the DNA Self-Defense Methodology where implementation would insert identification data into an object that will identify the object uniquely to the operating system on which it resides. This identification data, denoted as the DNA Pattern, will serve to create a unique copy of the object and create an ownership token between the object and the operating system. The research project then focused on developing an instantiation of the methodology for single node computer systems. Additionally, a proof of concept system was developed to test the functionality of certain features of the methodology. The results of the test demonstrated that, given additional research, practical application of the methodology is feasible.

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