Navy Hires Contractor to Data-Mine Gaming Consoles

The U.S. Navy recently hired an outside contractor, Obscure Technologies, to develop computer forensics tools capable of analyzing network traffic and stored data on gaming consoles.

The U.S. Navy recently hired an outside contractor, Obscure Technologies, to develop computer forensics tools capable of analyzing network traffic and stored data on gaming consoles.

The contract, valued at $177,237.50, calls on Obscure Technologies to create hardware and software tools that can be used to extract data from video game systems, compile a collection of data (disk images; flash memory dumps; configuration settings) extracted from new and used video game systems, and prepare a 10-20 page report including the following:

Detailed accounts of issues involved in extracting forensic data from a series of game consoles, technical information regarding how information can be extracted from video game systems, any engineering decisions that were made and why, what work remains to be done, and any failings of the approaches followed.

“This project involves furnishing video game systems, both new and used, and creating prototype rigs for capturing data from the video game systems,” reads the Navy’s official listing.

The project seeks to create these tools for use by the United States Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology.

Obscure Technologies was awarded this contract, the Navy claims, because they appear to be the only U.S. company in the business of purchasing used computer equipment for the purpose of accessing the data stored within. The Navy’s justification and approval report also notes that Obscure Technologies lead scientist has experience reverse engineering the Microsoft XBOX.

You can find the Navy’s justification and approval document here.

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Discussion

  • Anonymous on

    Ok what the heck is the Navy worried about? 

  • Anonymous on

    In the linked justification document, I see this:

     

    "This project proposes to create the following deliverables for use by Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (DHS S&T)"

    If this is for Homeland Security, why is the Navy running/funding it?  Especially since you'd have to stretch to come up with any reason this would be of any use to the Navy.  Was this just an attempt to hide what Homeland Security is doing?

    Also, there's this:

    "This project requires the purchasing of used video game systems outside the US in a manner that is likely to result in their containing significant and sensitive information from previous users."

    How much "significant and sensitive information" does the Navy (or Homeland Security, in reality) think some terrorist is going to enter/manipulate/store on his XBox and then sell on Ebay?  I know.  Maybe Homeland Security wants to help reduce the government debt load by gathering personal information and re-selling it to Google.  You know, if they really wanted to toss $177, 237.50 (I love the 50 cents) into the trash, why don't they just put it into an envelope and send it to me?

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