Feeds

DARPA trying to beat block lists, deep packet inspection

Strange bedfellows for extreme-porn fanciers, freetards

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Pentagon bizarro-boffinry bureau DARPA is seeking to develop a set of tools for internet users which are nominally intended for some military purpose - but which would seem at least as useful to those determined to get around measures designed to thwart copyright violators and extreme-porn aficionados.

The latest DARPA scheme is called Safer Warfighter Communications (SAFER), which sounds suitably martial. But what it is actually meant to do is "bypass techniques that suppress, localize, and/or corrupt information". Specifically, the SAFER technology will be able to bypass:

Internet Protocol (IP) address filtering or “blocking,” typically by blacklisting the IP addresses of websites or other services, possibly by the network operator, to deny the user access.

And also:

Content filtering that captures and analyzes the content of the user’s network traffic through deep packet inspection to check whether the traffic contains predefined signatures or sensitive keywords.

Block lists are used, of course, by hostile governments to suppress dissent. They are also used, though, to stop people viewing porn - in the UK by ISPs using the IWF list, or in other places at government level.

Again, deep packet inspection might be used by enemies of the US forces analysing their IP communications. It is also, though, an option for ISPs seeking to determine whether their clients are illegally downloading copyrighted material.

And while US troops do make quite a lot of use of IP traffic these days, typically it's quite difficult for hostile forces to intercept the packets wholesale for deep-packet inspection, let alone operate a blocklist. It's possible to think of situations where there'd be a military need for the SAFER tech, but not easy.

Of course, it's routine for DARPA to hang some sort of flimsy military justification on a project which has actually been selected for funding simply because it's cool: for instance the ongoing "Transformer TX" flying car push, nominally intended to fit in with US Marine small-unit doctrine. Evidently SAFER is another project of the same sort.

It is interesting, though, that DARPA's corporate ethos classifies the ability to circumvent porn filters and download free movies as something the human race obviously needs. And there will be some US taxpayers at least who will be quite cross about paying for this.

Full details on SAFER from DARPA here in pdf. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.