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Navy SPAWAR turns to Promia for network-security software
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2001 03:06:17 -0500 (CDT)

http://mae.pennnet.com/Articles/Article_Display.cfm?Section=OnlineArticles&SubSection=Display&PUBLICATION_ID=32&ARTICLE_ID=120711

[OK, its a borderline press-release, but its rather interesting way to
look at things.  - WK]

OCTOBER 1, 11:26 EDT 
 
SAN DIEGO -- Computer scientists at the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare
Systems Command (SPAWAR) in San Diego needed advanced Internet
security software. They found their solution from Promia Inc. in San
Francisco.
 
SPAWAR officials awarded a $7 million contract to Promia to test and
deliver twenty Advanced Internet Security systems, Promia officials
announced Sept. 27.
 
The Internet security system to be delivered to the U.S. Navy is
code-named the "Intelligent Agent Security Module" (IASM) and is to be
deployed as a primary means of providing information analysis and
protection on ships and shore-based facilities.
 
This procurement represents Phase III of a U.S. Navy Small Business
Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and compliments a multi-year
research and development effort by Promia and the U.S. Navy to design
and build the systems, Promia officials say.
 
IASM addresses known problems in intrusion-detection devices such as
false alarms and the inability to detect new types of attacks.
 
Navy experts "will be working closely with the community of interest
in this area to ensure a conclusive, easily displayed and understood,
highly interactive system," says Lt. Frank Ottaviano, the SPAWAR
information assurance project engineer.
 
IASM is a supercomputer-based system that uses a secure component
architecture based on the Common Object Request Broker Architecture --
better known as CORBA. The IASM manages how network-security software
detects and validates internally and externally generated network
incidents, Promia officials say.
 
It system detects known attacks using various techniques to correlate
single and multiple events, while it detects novel attacks using
analytic techniques to identify aberrant behaviors.
 
IASM also includes a visualization component to help operators
understand complex events with selectable levels of response suitable
to the needs of the U.S. Navy and other branches of the U.S.
Department of Defense, Promia officials say.
 
Beowulf cluster machines, which are supercomputers platforms developed
at NASA, support the analytic modules of IASM. "This makes it feasible
to expose aberrant behaviors even within the sea of normal traffic,"
says Promia Principal Analyst Dr. Stephen Neville. "Traditionally
hackers have had the luxury of hiding their actions within the large
volumes of network messages. The combination of advanced analytic
techniques with low-cost scalable supercomputers seriously hinders the
attackers ability to hide."
 
Promia's work "is significant because it is based on a reusable
framework for automatically assessing large amounts of sensor data,
simultaneously, across multiple networks, providing pattern matching
and novel attack detection," says John Mullen, Promia's president and
chief executive officer.
 
Mullen notes the importance of applying emerging technologies such as
fuzzy logic and neural networks to cyber attacks. Fuzzy logic refers
to a branch of artificial intelligence that focuses on reasoning amid
uncertainty or incomplete data.
 
[...]



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