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DARPA project could help with mobile security in the enterprise

A DARPA project seeks researchers from academia and business to improve security for mobile networks and devices. The program could bring better tools for the enterprise.

A research arm of the U.S. Department of Defense wants to create development teams focused on securing mobile devices and networks used by the military -- an effort that could eventually have commercial applications.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) plans to hold on Jan. 31 a conference on a DARPA project, called the Secure Handhelds on Assured Resilient networks at the tactical Edge (SHARE). During the Proposer Day gathering in McLean, Va., DARPA plans to provide details to organizations interested in joining SHARE.

While the program is in its early stages, DARPA projects in the past have led to advancements in commercial applications, such as computer networking and graphical user interfaces in IT.

"Many technologies developed do have applications beyond defense," said Eric Butterbaugh, a spokesman for DARPA.

SHARE's goal is to secure existing networking technologies so they can be used in military settings. The focus on current technology might help in getting SHARE advancements to the commercial market faster.

"Anything that can increase security and prevent hacking while using off-the-shelf components -- devices, software, networks -- will ultimately help enterprises, especially those in heavily regulated industries who have similar problems to government and the military," said Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates LLC, based in Northborough, Mass.

DARPA project's three focus areas

Many technologies developed do have applications beyond defense.
Eric Butterbaughspokesman, DARPA

DARPA described in general terms three technical focus areas for SHARE. The first, called "distributed tactical security management," is centered on technology and policy tools that would be integrated into handheld devices to let trusted groups share information.

Researchers would also work on developing a secure multilevel operating system and a distributed application security framework for mobile devices.

The second focus area, described as "resilient, secure networks," is centered on technologies for exchanging information between devices at multiple security levels. The connections would have to be resilient to be useful in military environments.

The final area, called "secure configuration automation," would target techniques and software to automate configuration and management of information-sharing rules, user authorities and other distributed security at the edge of the network.

DARPA is encouraging members of academia, small businesses and the tech industry to join the SHARE teams.

Next Steps

Securing business systems with a mobile framework

Setting best practices to achieve mobile security goals

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