The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL ) has conducted a study to help improve network resilience in the event of a cyberattack.

The study was conducted in collaboration with Virginia Tech and found that adaptation is a key marker in determining network resilience amid cyberattacks.

The partnership was formed to develop network adaptation strategies that support the maintenance of services during cyberattacks.

ARL researchers stated that adopting a new approach could improve the resilience of the US Army’s computer networks when hit by a cyberattack.

US Army researcher Dr Terry Moore said: “Simply having network connectivity does not imply that a network can provide the services it needs.

“A key result of this work is showing that typical measures of performance for network resilience do not apply to mission-oriented or task-service networks. We mathematically prove that without consideration of the resources or task priority, network connectivity is not a sufficient measure for determining mission success.”

Focusing on network adaptability, the research is known as Network Adaptations Under Cascading Failures for Mission-Oriented Networks. The approach involves enabling networks to continue to perform amid component failures by incorporating changes in network structure or topology.

The research marks an initial step in the development of a network strategy that involves dynamically changing the network topology for the completion of critical missions, Moore added.

The study considered a tactical network that supports multiple tasks of different priority levels and focused on the survivability of the tasks when facing a cyberattack.

The focus was on how many tasks could be maintained in the face of component failure. Moore stated that this measure serves as a more appropriate marker in assessing resilience.

Researchers conducted a computational simulation. The study involved a scenario with limited resources for nodes.

To address the threat of sequential failure of nodes, the study suggested that new strategies could be adopted for selecting new nodes to ensure the tasks remain unaffected.

In a statement, the US Army said: “A new approach for these scenarios is adapting, or merging, a task assignment problem solutions and a resource allocation problem solutions for a mission-oriented network problem.”