back to article DARPA trying to beat block lists, deep packet inspection

Pentagon bizarro-boffinry bureau DARPA is seeking to develop a set of tools for internet users which are nominally intended for some military purpose - but which would seem at least as useful to those determined to get around measures designed to thwart copyright violators and extreme-porn aficionados. The latest DARPA scheme …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Nothing strange here

    After all, TOR was based on work done by the US Navy.

  2. VeganVegan


    " It's possible to think of situations where there'd be a military need for the SAFER tech, but not easy"

    The notion of cyberwar is all the rage now, with the hope of, for example, injecting false information, false targets, intimidation (email/cell phone message to say we know who you are and where you are...).

    Spoofing IPs, evading block lists and deep packet inspection would seem to be part of the obvious toolkit to do this.

  3. BeachBoy

    .... or the real reason is ....

    Someone high up in DARPA currently can't surf for smut online while at work.

  4. mittfh

    Circumventing restrictions...

    ...such as The Great Firewall of China, perchance?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      War is the continuation of politics with other measures. So maybe this little tool would be able to inconvenience the owners of said firewall a little bit as a political measure. A slightly unstable competitor is better than a stable one.

  5. Jason Bloomberg
    Paris Hilton

    Push, pull and penetration ... ooer missus

    There's also the possibility of pushing US Cyberwar Malware (TM) onto the enemy's PC's and pulling information back out again without triggering the rotating red lights and "Arooga" sirens to consider. You'd ideally want full comms and all 'under the radar'.

  6. Camilla Smythe

    YaY!! Go TechnoWarriorCyberBoffins!!

    Up yours Phorm!

    When is the FireFox plugin due for release?

  7. I didn't do IT.

    Testing the Waters of a Great See

    While this is probably Ultimately Taxpayer Funded, I would propose that it is much more along the lines of testing the latest State of the Art against the government's own technology toolkits.

    Such "interesting" projects are routinely put out for bidding, with merely the proposals providing surprising results to No Such Agencies.

    Not anonymous, because what would be the point in this case? If IT wants to know, then the knowledge will out - through any means necessary.

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  9. WhoIsThis?


    I imagine while the US military might use it, it's biggest use will be China. And of course, Australia.

  10. Muckminded

    Telegraph that punch

    Now that everyone knows they are working on these technologies, success is guaranteed.

  11. Ammaross Danan


    @mittfh: I agree. This is probably designed for operatives in China to be able to report to Home.

    However, wouldn't this be best handled by some form of P2P VPN setup with layered, proxied encryption? In Gnutella lingo, if you VPNed to an Ultrakeeper, then were assigned a "virtual IP" by that Ultrakeeper (since it would know, or could query, if there was an available [IPv6 presumably] address), you could massquarade around on this P2P network as the virt IP and appear to be coming from the Ultrakeeper. When you do search requests, the request itself is encrypted (think SSL or somesuch), which are propogated THROUGH the Ultrakeeper, rather than from your computer, so it looks like the Ultrakeeper is performing the search. Using your virtIP as the "return" address in the network, which is being routed "physically" as the Ultrakeeper's IP, no one would know it was you, unless they could match you up as a machine that connected to said server through some ISP logging. But that is where layered proxying comes in. The CDC (Cult of the Dead Cow, not the gov agency) wrote a similar encrypted proxying network for their Chinese "associates." It would proxy HTTP requests through random end-points in the network, at any range of depth (usually around 6 or more) and popped out to the internet at some unrestricted (US, Sweden, etc) end-point which would perform the actually GET request and pass the info back along the line. Each point only knew the next point in line, rather than the whole. This kept anonymity between P2P users as well, as one machine did not know every node in the network, nor could they request that info.

    Anyway, a good, multi-layed network with encrypted information ought to be enough of a deterant, until the Firewall in question decides to block VPN traffic. Then you could just masquarade as HTTPS or some other definately-allowed traffic (port 22 perhaps? We know China doesn't block that particular one...). Of course, the obvious downside is the amount of traffic that would be proxied through the "Ultrakeeper"s, but I'm sure the gov't would be more than happy to compensate people who wish to become one. $30/mo (extra, for upgraded internet services) for 200,000 ppl across the globe is less than an old F16 every couple of months. I say 200,000, since it would be quite a long time before all 200,000 are found out and blocked by the tGFoC if the initial connect-list is handled properly.

  12. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    An intriguing justification

    The US Army's IP infrastructure has fallen into enemy hands but is has not been shut down, presumably because the enemy is using it also.


    Note icon.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    That move is expected...

    After all, DARPA invented the internet. It's only logical DARPA would want to protect its child from abusive hands of rogue governments, greedy media and other scary perverts.

    Now where did i put that onion (router)?

  14. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    In All IT Matters, it's how well you use what you have which Rules Supreme and Sublime.

    "After all, DARPA invented the internet. It's only logical DARPA would want to protect its child from abusive hands of rogue governments, greedy media and other scary perverts."

    And the likelihood of that attitude and intention being successful is mirrored in the path taken by the horseless carriage, which was never controlled or powered by its inventor[s] but rather more remotely developed by those who were its pioneering drivers/customers/investors.

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