By Cory Cohen
Senior Member of the Technical Staff
In 2012, Symantec blocked more than 5.5 billion malware attacks (an 81 percent increase over 2010) and reported a 41 percent increase in new variants of malware, according to January 2013 Computer World article.
To prevent detection and delay analysis, malware authors often
obfuscate their malicious programs with anti-analysis measures.
Obfuscated binary code prevents analysts from developing timely,
actionable insights by increasing code complexity and reducing the
effectiveness of existing tools. This blog post describes research we
are conducting at the SEI to improve manual and automated analysis of
common code obfuscation techniques used in malware.
By Robert Ferguson
Software Solutions Division
Software sustainment involves coordinating the processes,
procedures, people, information, and databases required to support,
maintain, and operate software-reliant aspects of DoD systems. The 2011 book Examination of the U.S. Air Force’s Aircraft Sustainment Needs in the Future and its Strategy to Meet Those Needs states
Air Force is concerned that the resources needed to sustain its legacy
aircraft may increase to the point where they could consume the
resources needed to modernize the Air Force.
With millions of lines of code riding on aircraft and automobiles, the cost of software sustainment is increasing rapidly. Several studies
show that the cost of sustainment is already as much as 70 percent of
the total cost for the life of the software. All the armed services face
similar challenges, including deciding how to improve the efficiency
and productivity of sustainment organizations and how much should be
invested in these improvements. This blog post describes an SEI research
initiative aimed at developing an economic model to help anticipate
costs and postpone the potential tipping point when sustaining current
products is less attractive than replacing legacy systems.
By Julien Delange,
Member of the Technical Staff
Software Solutions Division
When life- and safety-critical systems
fail, the results can be dire, including loss of property and life.
These types of systems are increasingly prevalent, and can be found in
the altitude and control systems of a satellite, the software-reliant
systems of a car (such as its cruise control and GPS), or a medical
device. When developing such systems, software and systems architects
must balance the need for stability and safety with stakeholder demands
and time-to-market constraints. The Architectural Analysis & Design Language (AADL)
helps software and system architects address the challenges of
designing life- and safety-critical systems by providing a modeling
notation that employs textual and graphic representations. This blog
posting, part of an ongoing series on AADL,
describes how AADL is being used in medical devices and highlights the
experiences of a practitioner whose research aims to address problems
with medical infusion pumps.
By Grace Lewis
Technical Lead, Edge-Enabled Tactical Systems Research
SEI Software Solutions Division
and emergency workers who carry smartphones in the battlefield, or
into disaster recovery sites (such as Boston following the marathon
bombing earlier this year) often encounter environments characterized by
high mobility, rapidly-changing mission requirements, limited computing
resources, high levels of stress, and limited network connectivity. At
the SEI, we refer to these situations as “edge environments.” Along with
my colleagues in the SEI’s Advanced Mobile Systems Initiative,
my research aims to increase the computing power of mobile devices in
edge environments where resources are scarce. One area of my work has
focused on leveraging cloud computing
so users can extend the capabilities of their mobile devices by
offloading expensive computations to more powerful computing resources
in a cloud. Some drawbacks to offloading computation to the cloud in
resource-constrained environments remain, however, including latency
(which can be exacerbated by the distance between mobile devices and
clouds) and limited internet access (which makes traditional cloud
computing unfeasible). This blog post is the latest in a series
that describes research aimed at exploring the applicability of
application virtualization as a strategy for cyber-foraging in
By Douglas C. Schmidt
part of an ongoing effort to keep you informed about our latest work, I
would like to let you know about some recently published SEI technical
reports and notes. These reports highlight the latest work of SEI
technologists in acquisition, socio-adaptive systems, application virtualization, insider threat, software assurance, and the Personal Software Process (PSP).
This post includes a listing of each report, author(s), and links where
the published reports can be accessed on the SEI website.