Navy looks to advance cyber defense

Funding for development of algorithms, techniques and software to bolster defense of Navy networks

The Office of Naval Research plans to spend up to $16 million to develop new cyber defense prototypes to ensure continuity of cyber operations during a cyber conflict, according to a recent notice from that organization.

The project's goal is to develp new concepts for protecting the Navy’s networks, and the desired prototype at the end of it would provide decision management, intelligent decision aids, data fusion, and correlation and visualization capabilities, ONR said in a recent broad agency announcement.

The office said there’s a major need for technologies that can identify and mitigate real-time threats while ensuring continuity of operations. Current network defense tools are reactive and inflexible and don’t allow for real-time response, it said.

“The architecture being sought is intended to provide a comprehensive, holistic approach to computer network defense and to move away from traditional concepts of patch management and computer resource management,” ONR said.

According to the notice, the three main components of the new architecture are:

  • Decision support that provides real-time management and control of sensors, and an automated response capability, among other capabilities.
  • Sensors and gateways that would provide enhanced anomaly detection capabilities and network awareness.
  • Security-enabled protocols to ensure data delivery,reliability and provenance and control of network-based security components.

The technologies ONR is interested in include:

  • Algorithms for the detection of malware embedded in binary data files that go beyond normal antivirus detection algorithms.
  • Algorithms for sensors and gateways that can distinguish between legitimate and malicious traffic.
  • Algorithms to mine data that support the correlation and fusion of large, complex datasets.
  • Security-enabled protocols that ensure proper network function during cyberattacks.
  • Tools to support attribution of network activity to a source.

The office said it may award up to five multiple indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts to do the work. The ONR plans on spending $16 million through fiscal 2015 on the work.

ONR plans to hold an industry day for the project on Feb. 24; full proposals for phase one of the project will be due on May 21.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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