Military to use Alphatech to stop denial-of-service attack

The Air Force awarded a $12.9 million contract to Alphatech Inc. to develop a quarantine defense for military networks against large-scale, denial-of-service attacks, a Defense Department contract statement said.

The privately-held company located in Burlington, Mass., will provide software and deliver it by November 2006 to Arlington, Va., according to a DOD statement released Nov. 6.

The likely destination is the Defense Information Systems Agency, which resides in the Washington, D.C., suburb. DISA also houses the Joint Task Force-Computer Network Operations, the military's computer network defense and attack organization.

Alphatech's top information assurance product is the Alphatech Light Autonomic Defense System, which protects networks and key nodes by detecting, diagnosing, countering and recovering against malicious-code attacks such as worms.

It wasn't immediately clear if Alphatech's products provide a so-called active network defense, something that JTF-CNO sought since 2000. Active defenses track down hackers with techniques that trace the origin of the attacks. They include the use of mobile agents that scour routers linking networks, survey probes that scan data passing through networks for clues about ongoing or attempted intrusions, and beaconing and tagging programs that detect suspicious activity in data packets and trace their origin.

JTF-CNO's request to deploy active network defenses may cross both technological and legal boundaries, since an active defense can be considered a matter of law enforcement that goes beyond mere security.

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