Innovative Cybersecurity Tool Developed By Oak Ridge National Laboratory

An innovative cybersecurity technology to detect malware has been developed by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). In corporate environments, cyberattacks are increasing proportionally with the advancements in technology. As such, there is the need and pressing demand to establish the next generation of preventive tools. In this line, ORNL claims that their researchers have achieved a major breakthrough.

The researchers at ORNL stated that by analyzing a device’s power consumption levels, they can determine whether a device has malware or not. This is backed by the fact that many electric devices such as laptops and smartphones will tend to give off electrical trace signals as dangerous code tries to communicate with its controllers and the malware attempts to delve deeper into the device’s system. As the malware attempts to hide, it consumes large amounts of time and energy in a way that the device does not normally experience.

The new technology, named “Heartbeat,” works on similar principles as an electrocardiogram identifying heart arrhythmia. Currently, most malware elimination tools work by scanning devices for known malware “signatures.” However, it is difficult to identify which signatures to look for, especially as cyber-criminals are working relentlessly to create new and complex malicious codes in order to avoid detection.

While the new technology holds the potential to positively impact numerous sectors of the economy, ORNL is yet to find a partner that can bring it to the market. The bidding process for the licensing rights commenced on 6th November, 2018. Heartbeat is among the six technologies that the company has termed as market ready in their Technology Innovation Program. Interested parties have until January 6th, 2019 to offer their response to the solicitation and present a plan for commercialization.

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