In the Pentagon’s 2012 defense budget request, DARPA stands
to receive roughly a half billion dollars in funding to “invest in
cybertechnologies.” However, what that means is unclear.
The announcement represents growing concerns by the federal
government that the United States is sorely ill-equipped for Internet security
threats of the future. But the 129 page Pentagon document fails to give any further explanation as to what the funds will pay for according to a report from Wired.
DARPA has made news in recent months with the announcement
of a number of new initiatives, like the Cyber Fast Track program, which would
fund independent security researchers and experimental projects in order to
bolster a more sustainable approach to cybersecurity on the part of the federal
government, according to a report released by Nextgov
earlier this month.
This particular program was announced by DARPA at the
SchmooCon security conference late last month in Washington, D.C. It follows
the example of several private sector organizations that have implemented bug
bounty programs of their own. The program’s designers had no intention of terminating
funds to traditional players like research institutions. However, they seek to
reward hacker collectives and various types of internet security enthusiasts
who are already working on relatively small, inexpensive projects beneath the
surface and whose limited funding drives them to come up with unorthodox
CINDER is another such initiative announced in August looking for new ways to identify
malicious insiders within the government in hopes to prevent Wikileaks-type scandals
in the future. We reached out to DARPA to
specify on how they intended to spend the half billion in funding, but they
were unavailable for comment.