Seeking intrinsically secure comms
The US military wants an "intrinsically secure" mobile military communications network designed from the start to protect against cyber attacks. It has contracted defence multinational BAE Systems to do the work.
BAE Systems has a significant footprint in SA and recently bought local defence ICT company IST Dynamics.
It says it will develop and test network protocols that support the integrity, availability, reliability, confidentiality and safety of network communications and data.
The $8.5 million contract, awarded through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Intrinsically Assurable Mobile Ad hoc Network (IAMANET) programme, targets the security challenges of mobile ad hoc networks.
Such networks are particularly susceptible to passive analysis and manipulation by adversaries.
"Cyber security presents a major operational challenge, precisely when our services are becoming increasingly dependent on seamless access to tactical information," says Dr Nils Sandell Jr, VP and GM of advanced information technologies for BAE Systems in Burlington, Massachusetts.
"IAMANET allows us to apply our wealth of security research to this challenge and provide the military with a secure network that will keep critical, tactical intelligence confidential and flowing."
IAMANET will immunise networks against traditional cyber attacks such as protocol exploits, denial of service, data exfiltration and propagation of worms.
BAE Systems leads a research team to develop a system that combines recent advances in identity-based encryption, network coding, dynamic access control and resilient distributed services. The team consists of the California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts, Stanford University, the University of Texas and Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs.
Work on the IAMANET contract will be performed at BAE Systems' facilities in Burlington, Massachusetts, and Arlington, Virginia.
Cyber warfare centre
Meanwhile, Estonia and six Nato allies this week signed a deal to provide staff and funds for a new research centre designed to boost the alliance's defences against cyber terrorism, the Associated Press reports.
The agreement was signed in Brussels, on Wednesday, by Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Italy, Spain and Slovakia. It comes a year after the small Baltic nation was exposed to an unprecedented wave of cyber attacks that crippled government and corporate computer networks.
The attacks lasted three weeks and followed deadly riots sparked by the relocation of a Soviet war memorial.
Nato leaders last month said they had adopted a policy on cyber defence, stressing the need for member states to protect key information systems and develop the ability to counter a cyber attack.
Nato spokesman James Appathurai called the Tallinn research centre "a very valuable step".
"Cyber defence is now something every country, every company and every individual needs to be conscious of," he said.
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