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DARPA's wireless defense project moves ahead

Jul. 31, 2014
Enduring Freedom
U.S. Army Capt. Edwin Churchill, left, the commander of Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, makes a radio call while Cpl. Gary Coleman sets up communication equipment on a hilltop during Operation Oqab Behar VI, in Paktika province, Afghanistan. (Spc. George Hunt / U.S. Army)

DARPA is seeking companies to continue the next phases of its Wireless Network Defense (WND) project.

WND aims to protect the control protocols of wireless networks from cyberattack, in particular those at the network and medium access control layers of the network stack. The goal is to protect “those protocols that coordinate among the distributed devices' management of resources such as spectrum, time, and power, and delivery of information," according to DARPA's solicitation.

Effective defenses will minimize the effects of attacks and also “force attacks to be observable and attributable," DARPA said.

Phase I of the project, which will be completed this October, addressed information reliability of network nodes as well as how to minimize network disruption when nodes are disrupted. Phase II will involve building a prototype system, while Phase III will involve field demonstrations.

Researchers should "anticipate both passive listeners and active attackers; colluding attackers; dynamic attacks; and informed adversaries," DARPA said. "Performers should assume that passive listeners and active attackers will be able to collude. That is, the threat model is a real-world adversary. Systems should be designed to mitigate attacks under all combinations of attackers and attacks."

Responses are due Dec. 20.

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