Military To Develop Stealth Internet Communications Technology

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will fund research on securing Web-based communications from being corrupted or intercepted by enemies.

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is developing technology that will allow military fighters to communicate stealthily over the Internet, particularly when third parties are trying to intercept their transmissions.

The military's experimental research agency is soliciting proposals for innovative technologies for what it's calling the Safer Warfighter Communications (SAFER) program, according to a document on the DARPA Web site. The agency released the request for proposals for SAFER last week.

In addition to enabling and protecting "safe, resilient communications over the Internet," the technology developed in the program also should be robust enough to support instant messaging, e-mail, social networking, streaming video, voice over Internet protocol, video conferencing, and other Web-based forms of communications, according to DARPA.

Specifically, DARPA is seeking any and all technologies that allow people to communicate anonymously over the Web. Technologies developed for SAFER should be immune from third-party efforts to suppress or corrupt transmissions, the agency said.

Some interception techniques DARPA is hoping to skirt with SAFER include IP address filtering or "blocking," which is typically done by blacklisting the IP addresses of Web sites or other services to deny the user access.

Domain naming service hijacking, which redirects a user to a different Web site or service from what the user intended, and content filtering that allows the capture of a user's network traffic are other infiltration techniques SAFER is meant to protect warfighters from, according to the RFP.

Firms have until July 6 to submit their initial responses to DARPA, and the proposal period closes on November 24.

SAFER is not the only program DARPA is working on that focuses on innovations in high-tech communications. Earlier this year, the agency sought requests to help develop a high-tech translation system -- called Robust Automatic Transcription of Speech -- that can accurately detect and translate speech even under noisy conditions.

About the Author(s)

Elizabeth Montalbano, Contributing Writer

Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer, journalist, and therapeutic writing mentor with more than 25 years of professional experience. Her areas of expertise include technology, business, and culture. Elizabeth previously lived and worked as a full-time journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco, and New York City; she currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal. In her free time, she enjoys surfing, hiking with her dogs, traveling, playing music, yoga, and cooking.

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