New Alternate Reality System Tricks Hackers Into Thinking Attack Worked

HADES, standing for High-fidelity Adaptive Deception and Emulation System, is scientist’s new answer to combating hackers. This anti-hacker system, rather than simply blocking the attack, uses an alternate reality to go a step further and actually feed the hackers with false information to make them think their attempt worked.

The aptly named HADES was developed by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in the US. The system tricks the hackers into revealing their tools and methods by making them carry out the hack in an alternate reality, which basically clones the targeted environment the hacker wishes to enter.

Along with helping organizations protect their data, this will help the experts understand and combat the increasingly sophisticated hacking techniques that are being developed these days.

"Simply kicking a hacker out is next-to-useless. The hacker has asymmetry on his side; we have to guard a hundred possible entry points and a hacker only needs to penetrate one to get in," said researcher Vince Urias, who along with his team, created HADES, in a statement.

He further went on to explain that a hacker may have discovered and sent off over a year’s worth of false data before they realize that something’s wrong.

“And then the adversary must check all data obtained from us because they don’t know when we started falsifying,” he said. And it is at this point where the hacker’s tools and techniques are revealed as they work on separating fact from fiction.

However, HADES is not without its faults. While simple deceptive environments may be carried out on a small computer, large and complex ones cannot be done without huge memory resources and require more CPU.

Still, it is a breakthrough that has already allowed security experts to locate malware introduced into a system and is capable of active attack, and US Department of Homeland Security is already working with Sandia for deploying it.

Kshitija Agarwal

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