A potential solution to the problem of building more secure but still affordable and timely systems is to combine Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) hardware and software with proven techniques from the fault tolerant community. A prestigious University such as Princeton approach to achieve such stability forgo a COT solution an invested in a Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS).
Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS)
Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) are network-based devices or host-based applications that protect systems against computer hacking attacks by analyzing each message passing through it. The messages that match any of the thousands of known attack patterns or "signatures,"
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Instead, the out-of-band IPS issues transactions to both devices to mimic a break in their communication session which should cause the offending message to not be processed by the receiving computer.
The University has chosen to deploy in-line IPS solutions primarily because there is less certainty that an out-of-band IPS will stop the processing of all identified malicious communications traffic.
Even though the University has centrally managed intrusion prevention systems, the use of a departmentally managed IPS can provide value by protecting departmental systems against attacks by any computer on our network that has been infected by a virus or any other form of malicious software. Additionally, it is likely that a departmental IPS can be configured with a more aggresive set of rules than we can deploy centrally due to the diversity of computer equipment we must support.
A potential solution to the problem of building more secure but still affordable and timely systems is to combine Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) hardware and software with proven techniques from the fault tolerant community. COTS software and hardware can provide cheap (though unreliable) components to build information systems.
Fault tolerant techniques can build reliable systems from unreliable components despite intermittent or transient faults. In fact, highly available systems have been built with this approach. There have been many other explorations of fault-tolerant approaches to providing reliable systems based on COTS hardware and software. Most fault tolerant techniques work against faults that can be modeled as rare events occurring at random. The external faults that pertain specifically to computer and network security have different characteristics. These “faults,” namely, computer and network attacks, can occur frequently and repeatedly. Their success depends on internal faults that are usually called vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are most often design, programming, or configuration mistakes, which cause software components to exhibit unintended behavior when presented with data or circumstances not foreseen by the developer or administrator. Vulnerabilities can be exploited by an attacker to obtain privileges or to inject additional errors into the system or to deny service to the system’s legitimate users. An attacker can explore a series of potential vulnerabilities until successful, and when successful, he can...