Building diverse computer systems

Stephanie Forrest, Anil Somayaji, David H. Ackley

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

344 Scopus citations


Diversity is an important source of robustness in biological systems. Computers, by contrast, are notable for their lack of diversity. Although homogeneous systems have many advantages, the beneficial effects of diversity in computing systems have been overlooked, specifically in the area of computer security. Several methods of achieving software diversity are discussed based on randomizations that respect the specified behavior of the program. Such randomization could potentially increase the robustness of software systems with minimal impact on convenience, usability, and efficiency. Randomization of the amount of memory allocated on a stack frame is shown to disrupt a simple buffer overflow attack.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1997 6th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems, HOTOS - Cape Cod, MA, USA
Duration: May 5 1997May 6 1997


OtherProceedings of the 1997 6th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems, HOTOS
CityCape Cod, MA, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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