Learning from nature: How nature resolves security issues

Introduction

The adaptation of security concepts found in nature to the field of mobile applications has not yet been explored categorically. It can be assumed that, when nature deals somehow with a security-related problem, it finds a "perfect" solution. These solutions could offer significant contributions to mobile software engineering.

Problem

Some security-related concepts yet may be unknown to the mobile software engineering community.

State of the art

The term "biomimetics" was first used in an academic publication in 1969 and describes how we can learn from nature to solve human problems. While the concept has been of major interest for the past decades in mechanical engineering, researchers heavily learned from nature with results such as the low resistance swimsuit based on the skin surface of sharks, or the deployment of bee honeycomb-like structures which optimize the ratio between material required to build the structure and the enclosed volume, while still providing reasonable stability. However, in the field of secure mobile software engineering adaptations have been quite scarce.

Task

The goal of this seminar project is to find security breaches in nature and to analyze and adapt the nature’s solution, which could lead to novel security concepts for the mobile software industry.
For example, you could have come up with the concept of "Safe Grounds": As a safety measure to prevent plants from extinction, they invest only as much energy as required into their own offspring. Consequently, plants send roots only as far as they need them and don’t try to "tough it out" where the soil or water levels are wrong for them [1].
We could adapt this concept to computer science by replacing "plants" with "software applications", "roots" with "web interfaces", and the "soil" with "unverified web requests".
Hence, we would end up with the following statement: Software applications should only grow web interfaces as far as they need them and should not try to cope with any unverified web requests, as they could be potentially harmful and terminate the software application.

[1] Benyus, Janine M., Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature (p. 261), HarperCollins e-books


Guiding research questions

  • Problem engineering: What is a security problem in nature?
  • Solution engineering: How does nature adapt to the problem?
  • Software engineering: How can biological solutions improve software quality and security?



Contact

Pascal Gadient

Last changed by gadient on 29 August 2018