Pentagon Terminates Program With Cybersecurity Firm That Managed Millions Of Dormant Internet Addresses
On September 7, 2021, the Pentagon announced its plans to end its contract with a private cybersecurity company in charge of managing nearly six percent of dormant Internet addresses.
This program started in January 2020. The Pentagon contracted a small cybersecurity firm to handle millions of inoperative Internet addresses. Following suit, the Pentagon will resume control of over one hundred seven million Internet Protocol addresses. The decision to seek external management of these addresses was made on January 20, a few minutes before Joe Biden was inaugurated as the President.
These addresses are called IPv4. They are familiar to IT professionals and network administrators. Until recently, management of the IPv4 addresses which covers six percent of the Internet was handled by Global Resource Systems.
What is IPv4?
It is the fourth edition or type of Internet Protocol. IPv4 was established in the 80s. Although most of them remained unused for years, they are still used to reroute traffic on the internet.
Russell Goemaere is the spokesperson at the US Department of Defense. In a statement to the Washington Post, he stated that temporarily transferring the IPv4 addresses was an aspect of a pilot project. The goal was to find any vulnerabilities and inhibit unauthorized DoD IP address use.
Details of the project
Although Goemaere did not disclose any details of the cybersecurity threats, he did state that the DDS, a special unit of the Pentagon launched and operated the pilot program. The DDS or Defense Digital Service answers directly to Lloyd J. Austin, Secretary of Defense.
When questioned about the timing of the project’s end (before Biden’s inauguration), Goemaere stated their decision to end the DDS pilot program and the change in the administration were unrelated. The pilot program was planned and started in the Autumn of 2020. It was officially launched in mid-January this year. The goal was to maintain low visibility which is necessary to observe the traffic in its present state. This would enable them to spot potential threats and ward off cyber attacks.
Last October, the Department of Defense posted a profile of its special DDS team. It described the unit as a nerdy SWAT team, composed of eighty-two data scientists, computer scientists, and engineers. A team that was trying to resolve some of the most difficult problems at the DoD.
When the IPv4 addresses were handed over in January, DDS director Brett Goldstein stated that the project would evaluate, assess, and inhibit unauthorized DoD IP address use. However, representatives at the Pentagon refuse to provide answers about their involvement with GRS.
Kentik’s Director of Internet Analysis Doug Madory mentioned that the decision to hand over a large number of IPv4 addresses was unprecedented. He further added that after GRS received the contract, there was a burst of Internet traffic towards DoD addresses. This move would enable the Pentagon to redirect information passing across the web into its military network for further analysis and examination. Madory added that many networks inadvertently spread vulnerabilities. He’s sure they knew about DoD’s steps already. Madory’s study of the traffic passing through the IPv4 when it was controlled by GRS determined that it led to a computer router located in Virginia. This location is a major spot for Internet connections for private organizations and government agencies.
About Global Resource Systems
When you conduct a Google search for GRS, it shows up as a business listing for a firm that started on March 22, 2006. It has a head office in Chicago with a mailing address at Plantation, Florida. Another branch of the company was started on October 13, 2020. The office location is the same, Plantation, Florida. According to the GRS site, the company is based in Fairfax, Virginia. They are at the leading edge for providing technical, operational, and strategic solutions and intelligence support for the Federal government.
Global Resource Systems maintains an extensive domain of information and a strong record of successful past performances in cybersecurity, management, and technical training, information technology, strategic consulting, security solutions, and intelligence analysis.