12:57 PM
Elena Malykhina
Elena Malykhina

Spy Tech: 10 CIA-Backed Investments

Check out some of the latest technologies to win funding from In-Q-Tel, the venture investment arm of the CIA and other intelligence agencies. That's the first step toward use by agents and analysts.
1 of 10

Remember the Semi-Submersible, the Digital X-Ray Detector Panel, or the Dragonfly Insectothopter? They're artifacts in the CIA museum, a collection of spy gadgets, weapons, and memorabilia that goes back 100 years.

U.S. intelligence agencies have long depended on research and development in new technologies to support their surveillance work and analysis. Today's spy gear in many cases is surprisingly accessible. In-Q-Tel, the venture investment arm of the CIA and other intelligence agencies, regularly backs companies whose products are commercially available, including some consumer technologies.

Since being formed in 1999, In-Q-Tel has invested in dozens of startups and other tech companies. In the first 10 months of 2012, the company has announced 17 tech investments. They include Contour Energy Systems, the maker of next-generation battery technology; Mersive, a supplier of "ultra high-resolution" displays (pictured above); and Reversing Lab, developer of the mysterious-sounding "decomposition technology" for computer security.

Cloud computing platforms are another area of investment. So far this year, In-Q-Tel has partnered with cloud services startup Cloudant, cloud management specialist Adaptive Computing, and Huddle, developer of a cloud-based content management system.

Some In-Q-Tel investments go to technologies that can be used in the field, such as a recent deal with Claremont BioSolutions, which uses cell phone technology in disposable devices for taking and analyzing DNA samples. The devices transport the DNA sample through a chamber where cells are dissolved and nucleic acids extracted in a few minutes. The idea is to enable molecular diagnostics in the field, what Claremont BioSolutions calls "prep on a chip."

On the consumer front, In-Q-Tel disclosed in June an investment in Looxci, the maker of a "wear and share" video camera that starts at $150. The devices, which can be helmet-mounted for sports activities, are of interest to the Department of Homeland Security. In-Q-Tel also has a deal with Walleye Technologies to manufacture microwave-based "see-through-walls" devices.

According to the Office of Director of National Intelligence, the top U.S. intelligence authority, total spending for the national intelligence program, which includes activities of the CIA and other organizations in the U.S. Intelligence Community, was $53.9 billion in fiscal 2012.

Here's a look at some of the latest technologies to get In-Q-Tel backing, a first step in making them widely available to U.S. intelligence agents and analysts.

Credit: Mersive

1 of 10
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Leo Regulus
Leo Regulus,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/26/2012 | 8:40:26 PM
re: Spy Tech: 10 CIA-Backed Investments
Unfortunate article format. I can't read it. That also means that I don't see, or click on your sponsors' ads.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest September 7, 2015
Some security flaws go beyond simple app vulnerabilities. Have you checked for these?
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
Published: 2015-10-02
Buffer overflow in Canary Labs Trend Web Server before 9.5.2 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted TCP packet.

Published: 2015-10-02
Cisco NX-OS 6.0(2)U6(0.46) on N3K devices allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (temporary SNMP outage) via an SNMP request for an OID that does not exist, aka Bug ID CSCuw36684.

Published: 2015-10-02
Cisco Email Security Appliance (ESA) 8.5.6-106 and 9.6.0-042 allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (file-descriptor consumption and device reload) via crafted HTTP requests, aka Bug ID CSCuw32211.

Published: 2015-10-01
lxc-start in lxc before 1.0.8 and 1.1.x before 1.1.4 allows local container administrators to escape AppArmor confinement via a symlink attack on a (1) mount target or (2) bind mount source.

Published: 2015-10-01
kernel_crashdump in Apport before 2.19 allows local users to cause a denial of service (disk consumption) or possibly gain privileges via a (1) symlink or (2) hard link attack on /var/crash/vmcore.log.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
What can the information security industry do to solve the IoT security problem? Learn more and join the conversation on the next episode of Dark Reading Radio.