DARPA seeks innovations in network monitoring

DARPA announcement on Scalable Network Monitoring program industry day

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is looking for new ways to monitor the military’s burgeoning computer networks for attacks, according to a July 31 agency statement.

The envisioned size of the Global Information Grid and the advent of Internet Protocol Version 6 on the Defense Department’s networks present “new challenges” to information assurance, DARPA says.

As military networks continue to grow, security threats to those networks are shrinking in size and “signature,” which makes them very hard to detect, the statement said. “As a result, many conventional approaches to defending our networks will not be sustainable.”

In response, DARPA officials in the agency’s Strategic Technology Office have created the Scalable Network Monitoring program to develop new approaches to network monitoring that can be applied regardless of a network’s size.

Agency officials will hold an industry day Aug. 16 to provide information on the program, according to the DARPA statement.

The Defense Department plans to start operating unclassified portions of its networks under the new IPv6 standard in summer 2008. Some features of IPv6 bear new security risks, said Kris Strance, a senior information technology analyst in the office of DOD chief information officer John Grimes. Vulnerabilities lie in the formation of ad-hoc networks on the battlefield and the use of IPv6 networks for communications on the move, he said.

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