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Roeder, Tom; Schneider, Fred B.
Proactive obfuscation is a new method for creating server replicas that are likely to have fewer shared vulnerabilities. It uses semantics-preserving code transformations to generate diverse executables, periodically restarting servers with these fresh versions. The periodic restarts help bound the number of compromised replicas that a service ever concurrently runs, and therefore proactive obfuscation makes an adversary's job harder. Proactive obfuscation was used in implementing two prototypes: a distributed firewall based on state-machine replication and a distributed storage service based on quorum systems. Costs intrinsic to supporting proactive obfuscation were quantified by measuring the performance of these prototypes.
fault tolerance; security; reliability; distributed systems