New Technology Prevents Cyber Attacks on Devices

January 27th, 2016 by Sarah Ricard

Symbiote, a new technology recently licensed by Hewlett-Packard from Red Balloon Security, grew out of university research funded by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate to secure embedded devices from cyber attacks.

HP will integrate the Symbiote technology into its LaserJet Enterprise printers and multi-function printers to protect the printers against cyber attacks.

Researchers at Columbia University developed Symbiote and later formed Red Balloon Security while continuing the development of the technology. Red Balloon Security received funding from S&T after submitting a proposal for Symbiote in response to a Broad Agency Announcement.

The Symbiote technology is unique because it can protect “devices most organizations don’t think to protect, like Voice over IP (VoIP) phones and printers,”  according to Dr. Ann Cox of the S&T Cyber Security Division Internet Measurement and Attack Modeling Program.

Symbiote can determine where firmware has been breached and then lock down other devices on the same network to shield them from an attack. Each new system with Symbiote technology has a unique code that makes hacking into the technology more difficult.

“The Symbiote technology is still developing new features to even the playing field between the attackers and defenders, allowing the defenders to pull ahead,” Cox adds.

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