Military tech defends internet from spies

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

DARPA cyber defense
The Pentagon’s research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, will be hosting a 2-year Cyber Grand Challenge this fall to encourage the development of high-tech web defenses. The future of warfare will be hackers vs. hackers!

The USA’s spy organization, the National Security Agency (NSA), has been in the news lately for using the internet to snoop on citizens at home and in other countries. What you may find surprising is that researchers from the Pentagon, America’s military headquarters, are making technology that protects internet users from being spied on!

Why would the military invent anti-spy techniques that could be used against the NSA, when they’re both fighting on the same side? Well, special forces soldiers often have to hide deep in enemy territory, where foreign governments like Iran and North Korea heavily monitor the web. If a soldier’s communications are intercepted, then it could seriously compromise their safety!

One of the main tools under development is the Service-Oriented Netcoded Architecture for Tactical Anonymity (SONATA), which uses cutting-edge encryption (hiding messages with special codes). By helping internet users remain anonymous and untraceable, their activities won’t raise any red flags during secret missions. Considering the rise of cybercrime, like the recent spread of Cryptolocker “ransomware” that holds people’s files hostage for money, such high-tech defenses will definitely come in handy! Images courtesy of The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Facebook.