DARPA calls for a hacker-proof encryption App, and it will pay it

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is calling for the development of a hacker-proof encryption App for the U.S. military.

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is calling security experts to create a hacker-proof “messaging and transaction platform.” The project for a hacker-proof encryption App was proposed under the rules of the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena.

The hacker-proof encryption App has to be designed to use the standard encryption already implemented by most popular messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Signal, or Ricochet.

The Government Agency is also requesting that the solution is based on the Blockchain technology that can provide security and non-repudiation.

“OBJECTIVE: Create a secure messaging and transaction platform that separates the message creation, from the transfer (transport) and reception of the message using a decentralized messaging backbone to allow anyone anywhere the ability to send a secure message or conduct other transactions across multiple channels traceable in a decentralized ledger.” states the announcement published on the SBIR / STTR Web Portal.

The DARPA distinguishes two phases of the project:

  • PHASE I: Create a specific decentralized messaging platform built on the framework of an existing blockchain framework.
  • PHASE II: Develop, test and evaluate a working prototype with the following features.
  • PHASE III: Commercialize and full-scale implementation of the platform.

The Agency will reward successful applicants at Phase I with more than $150,000 for one year and push them in the Phase II of the project that awards of up to $1 million for two years.

In the Phase III the solution will be proposed on the market and applicants will receive no funds from the DARPA.

The choice of the existing blockchain framework is not casual, it is a decentralized technology that could prevent any manipulation from threat actors.

The issues related to the adoption of such a technology are related mainly to its latency that requests a careful design in order to respond the project requirements in term of performance.

The solicitation will open on May 23, 2016 and will close on June 22, 2016.

Last month the DARPA launched another interesting project codenamed “Improv,” that aims to develop new techniques to hack into everyday technology.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs — hacker-proof encryption App, DARPA)

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