"Mudge" Zatko shaking up DARPA's security software routine

DARPA’s Fast Track program tried to address myriad security issues with unique technology

mudge zatco
WASHGINTON, DC -- Getting non-traditional security technology quickly into military networks was at best a trying experience.  Not only that, if you or your company had a novel security tools the last place you may have wanted to show it off would have been to the government.

But the inventor of L0phtCrack, a Microsoft password auditing tool and ex-BBN scientist Peiter "Mudge" Zatko now a program manager with the military's advanced research arm, DARPA, is changing those notions and changing them quickly. 

More on security: Battling botnet blight: It's going to take a big village

Zatco is in charge of a DARPA program called Cyber Fast Track that to bring what he calls unique security technologies into the military realm.

"Having  some of the best minds developing unique technologies and paying for what they do best is a key driver for Cyber Fast Track," Zatco told an a audience of security peers at the DARPA Security Colliquim here.  "Within the first two months of the program we have received 30 submissions, we have funded 8 of them and handled the negotiations for those within seven days - four day has been the median.  So we can now get prototypes delivered within months rather than years."

Some of the project companies or individuals and their intended applications include:

  • Rogue Networks: Methods of detecting malicious web server traffic
  • Immunity Federal Services, LLC: Combining expert knowledge and symbolic analysis for detection of exploitable bugs
  • Charlie Miller: Evaluation of Near Field Communication in mobile smartphones
  • Secure Ideas, LLC: MobiSec Live environment mobile testing framework
  • Korelogic, Inc.: Hand held testing
  • Assured Information Security, Inc.: MoRE: measurement of dynamic code
  • Peak Security, Inc. : TinyLANE - Mobile hardware endpoint security for individuals
  • Raphael Mudge: A language to control and automate cyber capabilities

DARPA  wrote about the Cyber Fast Track program: "The program is encouraging community interest and participation and allowing for an open submission of proposals in the field of Cyber. For the time and money currently invested for one program, the Government is striving to engage in dozens of programs. The Government needs agile cyber projects that are smaller in effort, have a potential for large payoff, and result in a rapid turnaround, creating a greater cost to the adversary to counter. This program seeks to engage many and different eyes on similar and diverse challenges."

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