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Chameleon Adapts to Secure the Cloud

A chameleon.

Researchers from multiple U.S. universities are looking to the Chameleon cloud platform as a tool for developing ways to prevent cyberattacks.

Credit: Christian Ziegler

A minority-led group of researchers from universities in Arkansas, North Carolina, and Louisiana is looking to the U.S. National Science Foundation-funded Chameleon cloud platform as a tool for developing cyberattack prevention.

The team, led by University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) graduate student Leonardo Vieira, is developing and testing approaches on cloud computing ecosystems and simulating and visualizing multi-stage intrusion attacks to better understand how hackers can compromise and steal data.

The Chameleon architecture operates through 12 standard cloud units, and offers researchers a total of 13,056 cores, 66 tebibytes of random-access memory, and 1.5 petabytes of configurable storage. Data from Chameleon is spread out between the Texas Advanced Computing Center and the University of Chicago via 100 Gbps Internet2 connections so users can study the effects of a distributed cloud.

Walker's team models attacks using a core server at a UAPB CyberSecurity Research lab, and another at North Carolina A&T State University's lab. They concurrently run intrusion detection and prevention systems to gain an understanding of how large-scale cyberattacks can be spotted when an intruder is attempting to hide in everyday network traffic. The system also is being used to visualize logs, which document incoming and outgoing network traffic on a network.

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