Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

Intel Researching New Approach to Laptop Security

'Proteus' technology tracks user behavior, flags atypical activity

Intel is researching a new method of securing PCs and laptops by analyzing "normal" user behavior and raising a red flag when unusual activity occurs.

Researchers at Intel's Berkeley and Pittsburgh labs have been working on the project, dubbed Proteus for some time now, but they have not published details. However, in an interview published in Friday's edition of MIT's Technology Review magazine, Intel researcher Nina Taft discussed the project.

In a nutshell, Proteus is Intel's attempt to analyze user behavior on an individual device, just as enterprises have long done on networks. PCs equipped with Proteus will "get to know" a user's habits and behavior patterns, then raise an alarm when those patterns change, such as might occur when a laptop is stolen or infected by a botnet.

Proteus differs from current anomaly detection technologies because it can be personalized to a particular user, Intel says.

"We believe that today's solutions that configure security mechanisms for laptops are fundamentally flawed, in that all laptops are configured the same way," the Intel research team states in its Proteus project description. "Since anomaly detection relies upon finding outliers based upon some description of 'normal patterns of usage,' it is essential to define 'normal' correctly."

"Our premise is that normal behavior should be defined with respect to each end-host individually," Intel explains. "Since end-host behavior differs substantially across people, what is normal for one person may be out of range for another. We thus propose to develop and use individual profiles of end-host behavior that can, in turn, be used to allow the security solutions at each machine to be personalized. These profiles will also enable novel security solutions to be developed."

The research acknowledges the fact that end users engage in different behavior on different networks and locations, Taft says. For example, the technology would monitor the user's behavior in the office, on the road, and at home, identifying "normal" patterns of activity in each location. This will make it easier to recognize dangerous trends in activity while making it harder for attackers to hide their exploits, she says.

Taft tells Technology Review that Intel is currently testing Proteus internally with about 350 users and that she hopes to expand the test in the near future. No word yet on when the technology might be commercially available.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

  • Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon Contest
    Current Issue
    6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
    This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
    Flash Poll
    State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
    State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
    Data breaches and regulations have forced organizations to pay closer attention to the security incident response function. However, security leaders may be overestimating their ability to detect and respond to security incidents. Read this report to find out more.
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2020-10595
    PUBLISHED: 2020-03-31
    pam-krb5 before 4.9 has a buffer overflow that might cause remote code execution in situations involving supplemental prompting by a Kerberos library. It may overflow a buffer provided by the underlying Kerberos library by a single '\0' byte if an attacker responds to a prompt with an answer of a ca...
    CVE-2020-11414
    PUBLISHED: 2020-03-31
    An issue was discovered in Progress Telerik UI for Silverlight before 2020.1.330. The RadUploadHandler class in RadUpload for Silverlight expects a web request that provides the file location of the uploading file along with a few other parameters. The uploading file location should be inside the di...
    CVE-2020-11111
    PUBLISHED: 2020-03-31
    FasterXML jackson-databind 2.x before 2.9.10.4 mishandles the interaction between serialization gadgets and typing, related to org.apache.activemq.* (aka activemq-jms, activemq-core, activemq-pool, and activemq-pool-jms).
    CVE-2020-11112
    PUBLISHED: 2020-03-31
    FasterXML jackson-databind 2.x before 2.9.10.4 mishandles the interaction between serialization gadgets and typing, related to org.apache.commons.proxy.provider.remoting.RmiProvider (aka apache/commons-proxy).
    CVE-2020-11113
    PUBLISHED: 2020-03-31
    FasterXML jackson-databind 2.x before 2.9.10.4 mishandles the interaction between serialization gadgets and typing, related to org.apache.openjpa.ee.WASRegistryManagedRuntime (aka openjpa).