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US DARPA Takes Blockchain for Military Use

Olusegun Ogundeji
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:51 PM

The research unit of the US Department of Defense has been working to fund efforts to find out if blockchain technology could help secure highly sensitive data, with potential applications for everything from nuclear weapons to military satellites.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) which acts to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security, has been working within an innovation ecosystem that includes academic, corporate and governmental partners to create new strategic opportunities and novel tactical options.

Its focus with blockchain is to address information integrity  which has been made more complex by the potentially uncontrolled integrity vulnerabilities created by the decentralization of information systems and the availability of powerful programming environments for end users, particularly spreadsheets which are used to support executive decisions, possibly without due consideration of data quality and data integrity.

Basically, all the Agency is doing is to enable it to track when a system or piece of data has been viewed or modified, according to a report  by Quartz wich also published an analogy made by DARPA’s program manager, Timothy Booher, about the blockchain effort: Instead of trying to make the walls of a castle as tall as possible to prevent an intruder from getting in, it’s more important to know if anyone has been inside the castle, and what they’re doing there.


Data breaches cost the economy billions and affect government and private companies alike.  One major factor in the severity of a breach is the length of time that the adversary can operate before being detected, which can often be months as they explore a network and identify the most valuable assets and data.

This is coming barely a month after DARPA jointly awarded a $1.8 million contract between Galois and Guardtime Federal to verify the state of correctness of Guardtime’s Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI), an integrity monitoring system that will act as a verifier verifying a system built for verification and monitoring.

DARPA will use Guardtime’s KSI which is a blockchain-based security technology for cybersecurity solutions collective of computer scientists, network architects, software developers and security specialists.

KSI’s functionality applies to quickly detect advanced persistent threats (APTs), that can remain hidden in an embedded state within networks. Attackers frequently use APTs for their ability to undermine the security of a network and are commonly found to play a part in sophisticated network breaches.

Its monitoring system works by continuously verifying the data integrity, processers and the overall system. This leads to ramping up the sensitivity triggers in a system’s underlying cybersecurity infrastructure and thus mitigates attacks in real-time while preserving the integrity of a system.

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