Feeds

DARPA wants weapons-grade military cloud computing

The clouds of war gather over the Pentagon

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Got your doubts about how resilient and secure cloud services might be? You're not alone: legendary Pentagon tech bureau DARPA has launched a push to toughen cloud tech up and make it fighting fit for the cyber wars of tomorrow.

The US tech-warriors have dubbed their armoured cloud project Mission-oriented Resilient Clouds (MRC). Full details aren't yet available, but some information has been released in a proposer's day announcement (pdf). According to DARPA:

Cloud computing is a rapidly emerging trend within both the commercial sector and the Department of Defense (DOD). A plan released by the Federal Chief Information Officer’s Council (CIO) in December 2010 for reforming Government Information Technology (IT) included a requirement that agencies adopt a "cloud-first" policy for new IT deployments.

It is propelled by three related driving forces: 1) the economics of large scale computation infrastructure (e.g., data-centers), 2) the ability to provide fungible computation on demand, and 3) the ability to centralize vast collections of data for common analytics.

This is a problem, however:

Cloud computing infrastructures, in particular, tightly integrate large numbers of hosts using high speed interconnection fabrics that can serve to propagate attacks even more rapidly than conventional networked systems. Today's hosts, of course, are highly vulnerable, but even if the hosts within a cloud are reasonably secure, any residual vulnerability in the hosts will be amplified dramatically.

DARPA already has a project intended to provide secure hosts, perhaps rather unfortunately dubbed Clean-slate design of Resilient, Adaptive, Secure Hosts (CRASH). The idea with MRC is to assemble CRASH units into tough war clouds able to perform "mission-oriented computation" even while sustaining losses due to hostile action.

As to how this is to be achieved, the agency boffins merely note that "clouds and distributed computing environments can: provide redundant hosts, correlate attack information from across the ensemble and, provide for diversity across the network". More information will be forthcoming at a conference for proposers in Virginia on 26 May, and probably in further announcements. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway
Combine Blu-ray and M-DISC and you get this monster
US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux
OAM takes wireless signals to 32 Gbps
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Apple flops out 2FA for iCloud in bid to stop future nude selfie leaks
Millions of 4chan users howl with laughter as Cupertino slams stable door
Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time
The most comprehensive coverage the world has ever seen. Ever
Run little spreadsheet, run! IBM's Watson is coming to gobble you up
Big Blue's big super's big appetite for big data in big clouds for big analytics
Seagate's triple-headed Cerberus could SAVE the DISK WORLD
... and possibly bring us even more HAMR time. Yay!
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.