What Biology Can (and Can't) Teach Us About Security

David Evans
University of Virginia

USENIX Security Symposium (Invited Talk)
12 August 2004


Nature provides an existence proof that complex, robust behavior can be produced from remarkably simple programs. Nearly all species become extinct, but some manage to thrive in hostile environments full of competitors, predators and parasites. I will present some observations about security problems and solutions found in nature. Successful natural solutions provide useful inspiration, but substantial differences between the natural and virtual worlds make it challenging to apply nature's security approaches to computer security problems.

Slides: [PPT, 10MB] [PDF for viewing (one slide per page), 6MB] [PDF for printing (6 slides per page), 2MB]

Summary from USENIX Login (by Alvin AuYoung): [PDF] (the summary of this talk starts on page 14)

Research links:
   Swarm Programming