It was recently announced that a team of scientists from Liverpool Hope University has developed a new device that aims to counterattack cyber threats from malicious USB drives.
Indeed, the project is led by Dr. Shishir Kumar Shandilya, a Visiting Research Fellow in Hope’s School of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Engineering, with Professor Atulya Nagar, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Professor of Mathematics at Hope. With the increasing rates of cyberattacks, it is becoming vital that people working from home are protected.
The research then centers around the use of memory ‘sticks’ – gadgets that hold information and that are swapped between home computers and offices. These devices are really vulnerable and often used by hackers to infiltrate a sensitive system. These USB ports of computers can be easily corrupted by malicious files and programs.
The new device developed is then an intermediate software that can be described between the USB stick and the laptop or computer, acting as a gateway or barrier. It is able to scan the USB drive for malicious software and thus, potentially stopping a cyber attack in its tracks. This solution can safeguard the host computing device by providing an additional layer of hardware security and hiding the host operating system information.
In order to do so, the device is presenting the disguised information about the computing device to the external devices, confusing effectively the external memory device plugged into the computing device. It also offers a method and intelligence to identify the malware as well as hide the host computed information, making it almost impossible for the malicious code to attack.
The device will be part of an emerging field of cyber security research called Nature-Inspired Cyber Security (NICS). The idea is to introduce nature-inspired phenomena to cyber defense. The external scanning device has also recently been granted a patent from the Government of India and should hopefully move to production soon.