Friday, March 6, 2015

Our nation’s way of dealing with hacking and cyber war is hiring the creator of the video game called Medal of Honor and he seems to be doing a great job. Who knew video games would get you a top job in our nation’s defense department? However there has been the recent cyber invasions of health insurer Anthem, Sony Studios and the military’s Twitter and YouTube accounts. Hacking has now grown from being a nuisance to a matter of national security. The Department Of   Defense has a new kind of war on their   hands to seriously deal with. Our hopeful hero is Dan Kaufman the video game guy. He heads the Software Innovation Division of DARPA, The Defense Research Projects Agency.
He is in charge of maintaining our military’s technological superiority. DARPA should be looking into this matter because after all, it invented the Internet. Dan Kaufman is an unexpected choice since he is not a General or a scientist or an engineer. He is a video gamer. They call him DARPA Dan. DARPA should spend time on their invention to secure it. Cyber   Attacks have now become a common thing to do against the American military every day. He has been monitoring these threats for 6 years as the head of the Innovation Information Office in Arlington, Virginia. The number of attacks are increasing and the sophistication of the attacks are increasing. His job is not to wait for something to happen and then react to it but to see a trend happening and kill the attack before it does damage.

About half his office staff deals with this issue alone both offensive and defensively. One of their defensive inventions is a proto-type called PLANX that when activated will be able to scan the Militaries global computer network and zero in on any machine that may have been hacked instantly. They can now decide to shut that computer down or quarantine the computer off. Dan’s military experience is helping to invent the game Medal of Honor that is a popular war game series. The computer nerd wanted to do something to help our nation after 911 so he applied for a job at the FBI and at the age of 38 was rejected for being too old. He missed the cut off age by one year for consideration for the job.

Eventually his resume got noticed by the Department of Defense because he wanted to use the same joy sticks you use for games to use   and control defense hardware. All young soldiers are already proficient using game gear. Now DARPA Dan has   security   clearance and his department looks like an arcade. He has a team of 25 smart geeks and a budget of a billion dollars per year. All their fun, I mean experiments must deal with securing national security.  One of their projects is to work on artificial intelligence software that would detect a hacker attack in real time and plug it immediately with no humans involved.  
If such technology had been available to Sony, the breach from North Korea could have been plugged right as it happened. When DARPA first invented the Internet 50 years ago, they did not imagine that hacking would become such a problem.  Can the Internet be fixed? Can more security be imposed on the Internet? Dan believes that the Internet is not broken and that insecure devices on the Internet must be put on with better locks. Since now you can control pretty much everything in your house with a cell phone, someone can hack your phone and easily get into your house. The IOT, Internet of Things need to be made more secure or it is no help to the consumer.

Your new car is networked with computers that do just about everything now. A hacker can get into your car computer and literally take it over and have it drive you and break for you if the attacker wants to. We do not wish to be held prisoner in our new computer driven car with some hacker trying to kill us at the controls. There are somewhere between 30 and 50 computers in your new car now. We do not want our car to be able to be hacked and taken over. Using a laptop a hacker can dial the car’s emergency communication’s system and figure out how to operate it by reprogramming it giving them total control of the steering, gas and break from any location in the world.

Software on line is available for $25 dollars that let you unlock doors on a car. DARPA Dan is on the case trying to secure our computer codes. He is also working on search engines finding weapons and women traffickers.  Google and Bing do not penetrate where most illegal things are bought and sold including women and children. His team has built a way to find and network these bad sites. It is called MEMEX and finds sex traffickers instantly. DARPA’s inventions can take more than a decade before they have permission to go from the military to consumer protections. Exceptions are New York City where Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr. has obtained permission to locate sec traffickers through his office. The downside is that it could be invading our privacy.

These are not video games any more but real things we need on our side in this age of Cyber Crime that is everywhere.  God Bless America!

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