Raytheon, GrammaTech Partner on Federal IT Security
The companies intend to develop tools to help organizations inspect the software inside network-enabled devices and protect them from attack.The BBN Technologies division of intelligence systems and security specialist Raytheon and software-assurance tools and cyber-security solutions specialist GrammTech were awarded a $4.8 million contract under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Vetting Commodity IT Software and Firmware (VET) program. Under the program, the two companies said they intend to develop tools and techniques to enable organizations to inspect the software and firmware that exist inside network-enabled devices and protect them from attack. BBN Technologies said it plans to develop techniques that enable analysts to prioritize elements of software and firmware to examine for hidden malicious functionality. "The U.S. Department of Defense relies on equipment with components manufactured all over the world," Jack Marin, vice president for cyber-security at BBN, said in a statement. "Any backdoors, malicious code or other vulnerabilities hidden in those components could enable an adversary to do serious damage, including the exfiltration of sensitive data and the sabotage of critical operations. The VET program seeks to enable DoD analysts to vigorously vet software and firmware devices before they are connected to our critical networks."
Mobile phones, network routers, computer workstations and other networked devices can be secretly modified to function in unintended ways or to spy on users, a concern that led to the VET program, which seeks to help U.S. government agencies address the threat of malicious code and hidden "backdoor" access in commodity IT devices.