Blockchain to help secure US military networks?

Perhaps 2016’s most hyped tech phenomenon yet, blockchain is intriguing nonetheless – and the US military is curious about the technology as well.

Blockchain, at its core, is effectively a distributed ledger, featuring code that allows parties to keep track of all changes. With high-profile hacks/leaks and ever-present nuclear weapons in mind, it might make sense to use the technology to shore up a country’s defenses.

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That’s exactly what the US military is investigating, QZ reported, as research agency DARPA has issued a US$1.8-million contract to “verify” a blockchain-based solution.

The contract, issued to Galois and Guardtime Federal, will see Galois verifying the “correctness” of Guardtime Federal’s Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) solution.

“Galois is a leader in formal verification, a technique that goes beyond testing and evaluation to provide mathematical assurances that a system works only as intended in all cases. Verifying the correctness of Guardtime Federal’s KSI will demonstrate the scalability and practicality of formal verification methods as a means for establishing trust in critical systems,” the two companies wrote in a joint statement.

Who says that blockchain technology should be confined to civilian applications?

“The contract will fund a significant effort that aims to advance the state of formal verification tools and all blockchain-based integrity monitoring systems,” Galois added.

The two companies pointed to data breaches as one possible application for the technology.

“One major factor in the severity of a breach is the length of time that the adversary can operate before being detected, which can often be months as they explore a network and identify the most valuable assets and data.  Technology such as Guardtime’s KSI can be used to ensure intruders are unable to cover their tracks.”

The verification process seeks to provide “mathematically grounded assurance that the KSI system will not be compromised”, no matter what measures an attacker takes to beat the system.

The USA is no stranger to attacks on its key military assets either, having data from its stealth fighter programmes pilfered several years ago.

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