DARPA: Calling all cyber geneticists

Technology sought would develop cyber equivalent of DNA to identify cyberattackers

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is looking for technologists who can think like scientists to develop and use the cyber equivalent of fingerprints or DNA to pinpoint the origins of a cyberattack.

DARPA’s Cyber Genome Program is a four-year, $43 million program in which the agency will fund projects that make use of digital artifacts collected from computing systems, storage media and networks to “produce revolutionary cyber defense and investigatory technologies,” according to a broad agency announcement published Jan. 28. DARPA officials said they plan to make multiple awards under the program.

In particular, they are looking for technical research on:

  • “Cyber Genetics” to create lineage trees for a class of digital artifacts to gain a better understanding of software evolution and aid in software and/or malware attribution.
  • “Cyber Anthropology and Sociology” to investigate the social relationships between artifacts and the interactions between system users and software.
  • “Cyber Physiology,” which will involve developing technologies that can conduct automated analysis of binary software to assist analysts in understanding its function and intent.

“Each of the technical areas will develop the cyber equivalent of fingerprints or DNA to facilitate developing the digital equivalent of genotype, as well as observed and inferred phenotype in order to determine the identity, lineage and provenance of digital artifacts and users,” according to the announcement.

The agency is taking questions on the project until Feb. 10, and an initial deadline for submissions is March 15. The final closing date is Sept. 29.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

  • Shutterstock image.

    Merged IT modernization bill punts on funding

    A House panel approved a new IT modernization bill that appears poised to pass, but key funding questions are left for appropriators.

  • General Frost

    Army wants cyber capability everywhere

    The Army's cyber director said cyber, electronic warfare and information operations must be integrated into warfighters' doctrine and training.

  • Rising Star 2013

    Meet the 2016 Rising Stars

    FCW honors 30 early-career leaders in federal IT.

Reader comments

Mon, Feb 8, 2010 oh10101

Neo-Neuropology Bugs create a weakness Bots perform a task Virus exploit a weakness ... Scans diagnostics for causes of weakness, should always start at the source code. Trust not that good source DNA is bugs, bots, virus... code free.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group