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Computer Security is Algorithmically Intractable

by Brent Kirkpatrick

(Date Published: .)

Every formalized problem for computer security is undecidable.

Are there any formal definitions of computer security that are not undecidable? That is the open question. Intrepid Net Computing has proven that two more problems related to computer security are undecidable:

  1. The Digital Forensics Problem, and
  2. The Buffer Over-Run Detection Problem.
This is proven on the heels of ground-breaking work in 1936 by Alan Turing. He proved that the halting problem is undecidable, meaning that there is no algorithm that can ever answer the question of whether another arbitrary algorithm will stop running.

At Intrepid Net Computing, our algorithms expert recognizes that most formal definitions of computer security have turned out to be undecidable, including the problem of detecting hacking. This means that only skilled people, expert in painstaking following digital clues, can provide the service of security.

Our algorithms expert is indecisive... because the problem, computer security, is undecidable.  He cannot write an algorithm to help you!! Instead, he proves that the problem is intractable.

We know that computer security is algorithmically intractable, but does this mean we give up? Does this mean computer security is impossible? No. Instead we rely on people to perform code reviews, to do security testing, to write less code, to do incident response, to do digital forensics, and to write patches for vulnerabilities.

Intrepid Net Computing's algorithms expert has writen a manuscript that gives new proofs of undecidability. This manuscript will also review practical strategies of obtaining computer security: Computer Security is Algorithmically Intractable.

Please contact us at Intrepid Net Computing if you have questions about this discovery.

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Brent Kirkpatrick. Computer Security is Algorithmically Intractable. 2018.

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