Security–A Perpetual War: Lessons from Nature

For ages, people have sought inspiration in nature. Biomimicry has propelled inventions from Velcro tape to “cat’s eyes” retroreflective road markers. At the same time, scientists have been developing biologically inspired techniques, including genetic algorithms and neural and sensor networks. Although a first glance shows no direct connection between the Internet’s offensive and defensive techniques and patterns present in nature, closer inspection reveals many analogies between these two worlds.

Botnets, distributed denial-of-service attacks, intrusion detection/prevention systems, and others techniques use strategies that closely resemble actions undertaken by certain species in the natural kingdom. The authors analyze these analogies and conclude by suggesting that the security community should turn to nature in search of new offensive and defensive techniques for virtual world security. This article is part of a special issue on IT security.