What is the neuropil cybersecurity mesh?

We find it really hard to explain our cyber security approach, and often we experience that people misunderstand our intention or the full potential of the neuropil cybersecurity mesh. One important misunderstanding is that we have implemented a kind of a blockchain, probably because we are using hashing and a distributed hash table. neuropil is not a blockchain!

As our company is originating from a background of integration projects, one of the pillars of neuropil obviously is a message orientated middleware. The difference: we know that operating a enterprise service bus imposes certain restrictions and requirements stemming from security and privacy. This is one reason why our approach lacks a central system, but rather embraces a fully de-centralized setup. Furthermore we assisted a few B2B projects in the past, and we know that the security measures for B2B data transfer are “heavier” than within a company. Take these two important aspects together and you’re directly there, many design choices and details are based one of these two main aspects: de-centralized security and messaging, but central governance.

As you’ll see, the neuropil is a structure that sits in between all systems using it. It is and will be designed to enable interoperability between all connected devices, applications, processes and users. Of we go with some other explanation to grasp what the neuropil cybersecurity mesh is or can be.

Mathematical: the implementation of a 256bit hypercube graph

When using the library a “node” is created, which acts as a vertices of a hypercube graph. Each network connection then is an edge, and in neuropil meaning each vertice can talk to another through a PPRL protected interface. As we cannot build up and manage a network connection to each vertice of the full hybercube graph, we only choose log(n) network connection based on the network topology criteria like latency and quality (others measures may follow). We also know that network topologies and physical restrictions will be hindering the setup of a perfect hypercube, therefore we added additional routing measures to ensure that all vertices can talk to each other. In theory, the vertices of the message subject space, the identity space and the node space overlap. We use the node space vertices as our overlay structure and use it protect the privacy of the users. From the hypercube we inherit the high scalability of the protocol. From the mathematical theory there is no limit to the number of devices that you attach our network, from our experience we know that this may not be true in practice.

Technical: a development framework for access control and secure data transfer

The technical reference implementation enforces the use of digital identities, SSI paradigms and modern encryption. When the internet was build, it was build with the assumption that there is no or little need for secure data transactions. History has proven that this assumption was wrong, therefore our framework is an implementation of the opposite: It is very easy to implement end-to-end encrypted data transfer, but difficult to go without any encryption at all. For the users of our library there are only two aspects to consider: which entities do I authenticate do build up SDN structures, and which entities do I authorize to exchange data with. Insecure data transfer just means that that you authorize all recipients, but this still involves a consent phase between the interacting parties.

Security: an obfuscated data space with a flat address structure

The flat address space reduces the attack surface significantly. By enforcing the use of random identities as the base layer, each attacker is forced into a specific position of the hash table and he may only see and use log(n) peers. Scanning the whole address space is cumbersome and rather not feasible, trying to obtain a specific hash value is equally difficult.

Each hash value that is or becomes visible refers to “something that you know” and enables the users of the cybersecurity mesh to make sense and to share information. Structures thus become visible to a specific user (group) only, which in parts reverts the current approach of how the internet works.

Our model enforces coopetition between involved parties. Central structures are only needed to build up or let entities emerge from the flat address space. neuropil increases and strengthens integrity, confidentiality and availability measures, the important ‘CIA’ of cyber security. You may add a ‘P’ for privacy as an important additional concept.

You’ll find many of the above mentioned concepts in other products or services, but you will not find them in a self-contained small c library that scales like hell (in theory)!