It's been a rough week for digital security in the USA, with China accused of hacking satellites and stealing secrets (claims they deny). Now it looks like the United States is planning on better readying itself for electronic threats by bumping up its cyber arsenal, both offensive and defensive. At an event dubbed the "cyber colloquium," DARPA stated it needed to beef up its network security, and asked for academics, researchers, and "visionary hackers" to help it do so. With cyber-attacks a very real threat, DARPA wants to move away from plugging leaks, and on to prevent them from happening in the first place. The agency also has its sights set on being more prepared to use those capabilities offensively.
"Malicious cyber-attacks are not merely an existential threat to our bits and bytes; they are a real threat to our physical systems, including our military systems," said DARPA director Regina Dugan. For this new initiative, DARPA has secured a large amount of money to put towards cyber research, jumping up to $208 million this year from $128 million last year — and they expect it to continue growing. DARPA has a legacy of funding insane and awesome projects, and we've seen some recent cyber security releases from the group. It should be interesting to see how they can put hackers' talents to use.