Risk
8/23/2012
09:59 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

DARPA Seeks 'Plan X' Cyber Warfare Tools

Defense Department looks for hardened operating systems and other new technologies for managing cyber warfare in real time on a large scale.

Defense Tech: 20 War-Fighting Innovations
Military Transformers: 20 Innovative Defense Technologies
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The Department of Defense is looking to develop new technologies, including hardened operating systems and other platforms, for managing cyber warfare in real time on a large scale.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has scheduled a workshop for September 27 where it will lay out requirements for the envisioned system and invite technology vendors to demonstrate capabilities that might be part of it.

Plan X, as the program is known, aims to help the Pentagon understand, plan, and manage cyber warfare "in real-time, large-scale, and dynamic network environments," according to DARPA. The program also encompasses cyber warfare strategies and tactics.

DARPA also wants to identify a system architecture team, which would oversee development of application programming interfaces, specifications for data formats, and acquisition of the required computer hardware and other infrastructure.

[ DARPA has a lot of irons in the fire. Read DARPA Demos Inexpensive, Moldable Robots. ]

Plan X entails research in four primary areas. First, DARPA is looking to develop analytics capabilities to help the military understand the "cyber battlespace" through analysis of large scale networks.

Second, DARPA wants the ability to create a mission plan and "script" that can be used by cyber personnel. That would include quantifying potential damages associated with those plans. The agency compares the sought-after capability to the auto-pilot function on an airplane.

DARPA also seeks operating systems and platforms that can operate in "dynamic, contested, and hostile network environments." It describes those components as hardened "battle units" that perform functions such as damage monitoring, communications, and weapon deployment.

Finally, the agency wants the ability to visualize what's happening in a virtual battlefield for use in planning, operations, and war gaming.

While those selected to work on Plan X are expected to have off-site development facilities, the program will be based at an on-site DARPA cyberwar facility with key contractor personnel. The program will use agile development principles, DARPA's announcement said.

Plan X is not focused on development of vulnerability analysis capabilities or cyber weapons, according to DARPA. The workshop is closed to the public and some sessions are only open to individuals with DOD "secret" clearance or higher. Following the workshop, DARPA plans to issue an industry solicitation in the form a "broad agency announcement."

Cybersecurity, continuity planning, and data records management top the list in our latest Federal IT Priorities Survey. Also in the new, all-digital Focus On The Foundation issue of InformationWeek Government: The FBI's next-gen digital case management system, Sentinel, is finally up and running.. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Andrew Hornback
50%
50%
Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/28/2012 | 2:10:39 AM
re: DARPA Seeks 'Plan X' Cyber Warfare Tools
Ahh, it's a closed workshop - that's too bad, this sounds like it could be a LOT of fun.

Although, I do have to wonder about the idea of an auto-pilot mentality for those responding to cyber-attacks. We all know how scripted responses work - ever call large hardware manufacturer for support?

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
trentondel
50%
50%
trentondel,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/30/2012 | 9:42:07 PM
re: DARPA Seeks 'Plan X' Cyber Warfare Tools
"Hello and welcome to the United States Air Force's Cyber Security attack hot-line. We appreciate your continued loyalty to the United States Government. If your power plant is currently experiencing a melt down please press 1. If your Water Treatment plant is now producing a form of nerve gas please press 2. If your air traffic control system is now routing all flights through Tehran please press 3. If your toaster has managed to gain sentience and is building a nuclear weapon please press 4.

For all other inquiries please wait patiently on the line and a service representative will be with you shortly.

Thank You and God Bless America."

God help us all if Microsoft is there.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Must Reads - September 25, 2014
Dark Reading's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of identity and access management. Learn about access control in the age of HTML5, how to improve authentication, why Active Directory is dead, and more.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2012-5485
Published: 2014-09-30
registerConfiglet.py in Plone before 4.2.3 and 4.3 before beta 1 allows remote attackers to execute Python code via unspecified vectors, related to the admin interface.

CVE-2012-5486
Published: 2014-09-30
ZPublisher.HTTPRequest._scrubHeader in Zope 2 before 2.13.19, as used in Plone before 4.3 beta 1, allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary HTTP headers via a linefeed (LF) character.

CVE-2012-5487
Published: 2014-09-30
The sandbox whitelisting function (allowmodule.py) in Plone before 4.2.3 and 4.3 before beta 1 allows remote authenticated users with certain privileges to bypass the Python sandbox restriction and execute arbitrary Python code via vectors related to importing.

CVE-2012-5488
Published: 2014-09-30
python_scripts.py in Plone before 4.2.3 and 4.3 before beta 1 allows remote attackers to execute Python code via a crafted URL, related to createObject.

CVE-2012-5489
Published: 2014-09-30
The App.Undo.UndoSupport.get_request_var_or_attr function in Zope before 2.12.21 and 3.13.x before 2.13.11, as used in Plone before 4.2.3 and 4.3 before beta 1, allows remote authenticated users to gain access to restricted attributes via unspecified vectors.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In our next Dark Reading Radio broadcast, we’ll take a close look at some of the latest research and practices in application security.