Whistleblowers have demonstrated how vulnerable military and intelligence networks are to trusted insiders over the past few years, much to the embarrassment of the organizations charged with defending those networks. To prevent future Edward Snowdens and Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Mannings from adding insult to injury, the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) recently added a new request to its ongoing cybersecurity research program that seeks technology to shut down the insider threat.
The Cyber Awareness and Resilience Research program, a broad effort to develop new information security technologies, has modified a number of its new research priorities, including “Counter-Insider Modeling.” The goal of the newly budgeted research: to “research, design, and develop techniques to identify, characterize, categorize, and manage insider threats at the tactical and strategic levels (and to) assess and determine tools to conduct fingerprinting of data and the management of such data across a diverse network.”
The anti-insider threat research is one of five new areas for which the AFRL has budgeted a total of $24.4 million in order to develop systems that the military can implement to better secure its networks. Other focus areas for the research include developing better authentication technology “to provide secure end-to-end identity attributable device authentication across security and administrative domains”—technology that might prevent the sort of credential escalation that Snowden allegedly used to gain access to National Security Agency intranet resources.