Akita: Software Situational Awareness for End-node Authentication

Period of Performance: 01/28/2008 - 05/28/2010

$1.74MM

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Pikewerks Corp.
105 A Church Street
Madison, AL 35758
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Akita is a software-based situational awareness system that aids in the protection of sensitive applications by using inherent system characteristics to generate unique encryption/decryption keys. Similar to biometrics taken from humans, digital metrics can be used to create a unique fingerprint of a compute system, or network. The fingerprint generated can be used to unlock protected data or applications; eliminating the need to store a static key. The protection is keyed to the environment for which it was generated; therefore an attacker must be capable of recreating the environment to defeat the security. By using a dynamically generated key we are much less likely to fall into the break-once-break-often category that has plagued so many modern DRM solutions. Akita eliminates the need for key-files, key-fobs, or dongles that can be stolen and used to execute pirated copies of otherwise protected software. The result of Phase I was a prototype software solution capable of generating unique keys, binding sensitive applications to a specific state/host. In Phase II this system will be: 1) matured into a commercial product, 2) expanded to include new sensor and penalty capabilities, and 3) be adapted to support a collaborative network framework.