U Computer Scientists Create Self-Repairing Software

November 13, 2014

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University of Utah computer scientists have developed software that not only detects and eradicates never-before-seen viruses and other malware, but also automatically repairs damage caused by them. The software then prevents the invader from ever infecting the computer again.

A3 is a software suite that works with a virtual machine – a virtual computer that emulates the operations of a computer without dedicated hardware. The A3 software is designed to watch over the virtual machine’s operating system and applications, says Eric Eide, University of Utah research assistant professor of computer science leading the university’s A3 team with U computer science associate professor John Regehr. A3 is designed to protect servers or similar business-grade computers that run on the Linux operating system. It also has been demonstrated to protect military applications.

The new software called A3, or Advanced Adaptive Applications, was co-developed by Massachusetts-based defense contractor, Raytheon BBN, and was funded by Clean-Slate Design of Resilient, Adaptive, Secure Hosts, a program of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The four-year project was completed in late September.

There are no plans to adapt A3 for home computers or laptops, but Eide says this could be possible in the future.

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