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back to article 'Cyber Genome Project' kicked off by DARPA

Applecart-bothering Pentagon boffinry bureau DARPA is at it again. This time, the military scientists want to establish a "Cyber Genome" project which will allow any digital artifact - a document, a piece of malware - to be probed to its very origins. According to an announcement put out yesterday by DARPA, the "Cyber Genome …

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Gold badge
Coat

An analogy too far

But an intriguing idea.

Might work with complex data formats which take along a lot of metadata but note

1) metadata can be spoofed.

2)Unlike human DNA once a patternn is established software can be written to "simulate" that pattern. So develop your exploit, run your spoofer and instant suspect creation.

As all black hats know your identity is your *most* precious possesion.

You can guess what DVD's in my pocket.

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Actually, from what I understand DNA fragments *can* be constructed in the lab sufficiently similar to a sample to pass most DNA "finger-printing" tests.

Seem to recall there was an El-Reg piece on this a while back.

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Silver badge

Post Modern Manchurian Candidate Territory .... Virtual Terrain Team Field.

"2)Unlike human DNA once a patternn is established software can be written to "simulate" that pattern. So develop your exploit, run your spoofer and instant suspect creation" .... John Smith 19 Posted Tuesday 26th January 2010 11:16 GMT

Like humans though, established software patterns can be also stimulated/groomed, so that programs and programmers can be easily captured/entrapped, although that is not something you would want to be doing willy nilly, and especially not something you would want to be doing against anyone well practised in the field, for then you may find that your developed exploit, run spoof and instant suspect creation, is itself captured and facing a leading application which is more Real for being Virtual and would instantly create yourself as a suspect for dodgy investigation/simply complex reverse metadatabase engineering.

" As all black hats know your identity is your *most* precious possesion." .... Well, in black hat guise it would certainly be precocious, although whenever it can be so costly, I would always decline to describe it as precious, preferring instead to use, expensive. But that is just a subjective semantic difference, which itself can be flexible and changed just with a change of thought /mind.

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Silver badge

In a Field of Exponentially Speedy Growth, is to Lag behind to leave one Light Years behind.

"There are to be workshops for interested industrial participants shortly, but it's US citizens only.The wider world may not find out about the Cyber Genome effort unless and until it starts to produce results."

Or it may be the case that Uncle Sam is Late into CyberIntelAIgent PlayGrounds* and ITs QuITe Colossal Chaotic Orderly Games, and Trailing behind in ITs Fields, Struggling in Irregular Wakes and Unconventional Waves?

* Virtual SkunkWorks would be a probable DARPA/IARPA clone in such AIMetaDataBase Fields.

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Headmaster

Nice

I agree with amanfromMars1 wholehartedly. Military Industrialism can only be taken so far before MetaData and attached information play a larger role in Detecting and Apprehending Chaotic elements playing in IT of others.

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FAIL

I'll believe it when I see it

"any code you write, perhaps even any document you create, might one day be traceable back to you"

Exactly how are they going to be able to tell which of us wrote "hello world" or which of us was the person who wrote that little 10 line XML hack?

You need hundreds of lines of code to spot any patterns and even then there are going to be very simiarl ones in different people's code...

And exactly who do they hope to catch? Virus writers? Hackers? They've had very limited success so far and I expect that to continue pretty much forever.

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The Mighty Oz!

Whoosh of flames and booming voice: "The Mighty Oz can trace everything you do online, Dorothy! Naughtyness will be tracked down and stamped out!"

Just watch the floorshow and ignore what's happening behind the curtain.

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FAIL

Flawed premise

This is a COMPLETE waste of time...

DNA is so complex it is effectively unique to the individual (or pair of identical twins), this is far from the case with code where trying to identify 'signatures' will likely produce results that are as in-effective as Graphological profiling.

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Pint

Hahahahaha!

Hello Q here!

I have deduced with a high amount of credible certainty that

Jr. Bob Dobbs wrote the following on November 6th 1998 high in the mountains of Nepal:

100 cls

110 print "Hello"

120 end

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Silver badge

Maybe I missed something here ...

... but I imagined something like the Microsoft system that uses information from all the hardware in the machine etc, and then perhaps adds in something from the login details and the software on the machine. Even then, it doesn't seem likely that it will be as allegedly* unique as DNA, if only because lots of people can use one login, and one person can use lots of machines (and that's before people get into finding ways of deliberately subverting this system ...)

* "allegedly", because it is only statistical.

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Pirate

with a heart of gold, to have and to hold

10 CLS

20 PRINT "god bless the moderators"... errr, just for any case.

30 DATA thought rpa has another tempting direction to follow, and i can't say it wasn't ai.

40 DATA generally, all god has entered into a human's dna was just "hello world". takes 11 bytes.

50 DATA what we are having now in our own dna is >50 % spam/malware/bad blocks/unused address space... did you ever hear "sorry man, here is the newest patch just off the farm" from the consumer service?

60 DATA humpty-dumpty sat on the oil... will his backside be enough big to put its half on the internet too?

70 DATA half of a horse for the kingdom, half of an arse for a throne*. and the king's men may really choose ceili'n'set instead of that pre-whitehat lapdancing. look, are we going again to explore the scene _after_ the crime is done or seeking how to _prevent_ the crime?

80 DATA answers, answers, answers... the power plug is in your hands. help the world make kilowatt a hardest currency. then you, with clear conscience, may type "hello world, i have something for you". advanced programming, you know. takes 37 bytes.

90 REM basic english, sorry (-;

100 END

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Anonymous Coward

Code style - not necessarily for "who are you" identification as much as "who you are not"

It may be useful to see that a modification to a piece of code has been made - you write 10,000 lines of assembler net hardware IO, someone adds 100 to enable keystroke logging. You get picked up (YOUR code has the hack) but defence shows a different "fingerprint"

Many moons ago, our pathology records system wasn't word wrapping properly. The engineer was staring at the source in the coffee room. I pointed out to him that the documentations was't up to date. "What do you mean?" "Header block shows one author, but two other people have edited this." "How can you tell?" "From the way they're manipulating the strings. the original author does it C-style, this block was written by someone who's making the transtion to C from Basic and this section was written by someone who's used to Pascal."

Once I'd pointedthat out and we removed the kludges the editors had written to translate strings into their favourite format, it all worked.

Engineer got hell though - customers aren't allowed to change source code...

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Go

Typical sales pitch

John Smith has it right. Analogies (v. technical descriptions) work best for obtaining grant money in certain houses.

Pity the poor sci/eng techi whose boss (understanding neither genes nor programming) uses equally obtuse analogies to win the grant, then dumps it on his whiz-kid underlings to deliver. Been there, seem that happen too many times, and, unless his whiz kids are equally bright in redefining the problem into something realizable (with realistic objectives) and selling that back to the granters, they are all in for a rough unpleasant ride.

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