The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded a computer science company a new contract Monday to lead a program to tackle highly sophisticated cyber threats.
The $6 million contract between DARPA and Portland, Oregon-based Galois will go towards the development of a program to stop “advanced persistent threats,” or APTs. These attacks are often stealthy and virtually incapable of being detected, and are often deployed by nation-state and other elite-level hacking groups.
Galois will develop a program called “A Diagnostic Approach for Persistent Threat Detection,” or ADAPT, to detect present and future hacks. ADAPT uses complex “artificial intelligence approaches” to analyze and detect even well-disguised malware, according to the project’s website.
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Galois will work with the University of Edinburgh, Oregon State University, and research and development company PARC on the project.
“Complexity of system activity and resulting lack of transparency has created a world where carefully crafted APTs can act ‘under the radar’ for long periods – stealing data, expanding presence, and affecting system operation without triggering traditional detection systems,” Dr. David Archer, the research lead of cryptography and multiparty computation at Galois, said in a statement.
Once ADAPT detects the code, it will also be able to trace other malicious actions similar to the hack and provide recommendations, as well.
“By tracing the computational provenanceof APTs, and by detecting subtle behavioral anomalies that distinguish APTs from normal business logic, ADAPT will offer system operators enhanced situational awareness about security of their networks,” Archer said.
Galois and DARPA have teamed up before, including last May when DARPA awarded Galois a $10 million contract to secure legacy systems. The company has also teamed up with NIST’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace program for a pilot related to protecting user privacy on systems related to the Internet of Things.
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