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The Air Force wants a suite of hacker tools, to give it "access" to -- and "full control" of -- any kind of computer there is. And once the info warriors are in, the Air Force wants them to keep tabs on their "adversaries' information infrastructure completely undetected."
The government is growing increasingly interested in waging war online. The Air Force recently put together a "Cyberspace Command," with a charter to rule networks the way its fighter jets rule the skies. The Department of Homeland Security, Darpa, and other agencies are teaming up for a five-year, $30 billion "national cybersecurity iniative." That includes an electronic test range, where federally-funded hackers can test out the latest electronic attacks.
On Monday, the Air Force Research Laboratory introduced a two-year, $11 million effort to put together hardware and software tools for "Dominant Cyber Offensive Engagement." "Of interest are any and all techniques to enable user and/or root level access to both fixed (PC) or mobile computing platforms... any and all operating systems, patch levels, applications and hardware," a request for proposals notes. And this isn't just some computer science study; "research efforts under this program are expected to result in complete functional capabilities."
Unlike an Air Force colonel's proposal, to knock down enemy websites with military botnets, the Research Lab is encouraging a sneaky, "low and slow" approach. The preferred attack consists of lying quiet, and then "stealthily exfiltrat[ing] information" from adversaries' networks.
But, in the end, the Air Force wants to see all kinds of "techniques and technologies" to "Deceive, Deny, Disrupt, Degrade, [or] Destroy" hostile systems. And "in addition to these main concepts," the Research Lab would like to see studies into "Proactive Botnet Defense Technology Development," the "reinvent[ion of] the network protocol stack" and new antennas, based on carbon nanotubes.
CONTROL THE NEW “INTERNATIONAL COMMONS” OF SPACE AND “CYBERSPACE,”