New secure architecture confounds hackers with randomization

Prof. Todd Austin is leading development of a new hardware architecture designed to guard against hackers. Presented in the paper "Morpheus: A Vulnerability-Tolerant Secure Architecture Based on Ensembles of Moving Target Defenses with Churn," Morpheus is a secure architecture combining layers of defenses with the ability to re-randomize during runtime with a tool called "Churn" to make it difficult for attackers to gain a foothold in the system.

The two lead PhD students on the project, Mark Gallagher and Lauren Biernacki, produced a promotional video detailing the strengths of Morpheus' randomization approach. The technique gives hackers too small a timeframe to effectively break through secure systems before their point of access completely changes location.

Morpheus is a collaborative effort between the University of Michigan, the University of Texas at Austin, and Princeton University. It will appear in the Security II session (April 16, 2019, 11:30am) at the International Symposium for Architectural Support and Programming Languages (ASPLOS) 2019.

Posted February 19, 2019