Military lays out $4.4 M to supersize network monitoring technology

Bigger, better, faster, more are the driving themes behind the advanced network monitoring technology BBN Technologies is building for the military.

The high-tech firm got a $.4.4 million contract today from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop novel, scalable attack detection algorithms; a flexible and expandable architecture for implementing and deploying the algorithms; and an execution environment for traffic inspection and algorithm execution.

The network monitoring systems is being developed under DARPA's Scalable Network Monitoring program which seeks to bolt down network security in the face of cyber attacks that have grown more subtle and sophisticated. New technologies and applications provide new attack routes and have made traditional signature-based and anomaly detection-based defensive measures inadequate in both speed and sensitivity, BBN added.

To be effective in today's networks, detection algorithms must operate quickly, efficiently, and effectively in large, content-rich environments. DARPA said that because traffic volume is increasing at a faster rate than the number of hosts on the network, the computing power required to provide gateway network monitoring and defense of autonomous systems will continually grow as a fraction of the power of the monitored network. If these trends continue unabated the network will soon consume the majority of its resources solely to defend itself, DARPA said.

New approaches to network-based monitoring are sought that provide maximum coverage of the network (from the gateway down) with performance independent of the network size, DARPA said.

Some of DARPA's Scalable Network Monitoring program requirements include:

  • Probability of detection of malicious traffic greater than 99% per attack launched
  • A false alarm rate while monitoring traffic of not more than one false alarm per day.
  • Support capabilities at conventional gateway line speeds of 1Gbps in Phase I of the contract, while Phase II will demonstrate the scalability of this capability at gateway line speeds of 100Gbps.

BBN earlier this year got $13 million in additional funding from DARPA to develop a system that quickly converts documents in foreign languages into English so that military personnel can react more rapidly to threats.

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