'Frankenstein' computer program created

Aug. 28, 2012 at 5:35 PM   |   Comments

DALLAS, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. computer scientists say they've created a "Frankenstein" software program to help develop defenses against new kinds of cyberattacks.

Saying to catch a thief you have to think like one, researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas have created their "monster" that can cloak itself as it steals and reconfigures information in a computer program.

In a nod to the potentially destructive nature of their technology, the researchers have named the software Frankenstein after Mary Shelley's novel.

"Shelley's story is an example of a horror that can result from science, and similarly, we intend our creation as a warning that we need better detections for these types of intrusions," said professor of computer science Kevin Hamlen, who created the software along with his doctoral student Vishwath Mohan.

Anti-virus software typically scans for sequences of code that are known to be suspicious but Frankenstein evades this scanning mechanism, the researchers said, by taking code from programs already on a computer and repurposing it, stringing it together to accomplish a malicious task with new instructions.

"Just as Shelley's monster was stitched from body parts, our Frankenstein also stitches software from original program parts, so no red flags are raised," he said. "It looks completely different, but its code is consistent with something normal."

"Criminals may already know how to create this kind of software, so we examined the science behind the danger this represents, in hopes of creating countermeasures," Hamlen said.

Topics: Mary Shelley
© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
Rock-eating bacteria discovered in buried Antarctic lake
Spiders prefer the city life
Seals, sea lions likely spread tuberculosis to humans
Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg: I'll take the ice bucket challenge, and improve it
Latvia boasts world's first net for migrating bats
Trending News