Thursday, April 28, 2016

DARPA Is Looking for the Perfect Encryption App, and It's Willing to Pay

Motherboard (04/22/16) Franceschi-Bicchierai, Lorenzo 

The Pentagon's blue-sky research program is looking for someone to create the ultimate hacker-proof messaging app. The "secure messaging and transaction platform" would use the standard encryption and security features of current messaging apps such as Signal, but also would use a decentralized Blockchain-like backbone structure that would be more resilient to surveillance and cyberattacks. The goal of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is "a secure messaging system that can provide repudiation or deniability, perfect forward and backward secrecy, time to live/self delete for messages, one-time eyes-only messages, a decentralized infrastructure to be resilient to cyberattacks, and ease of use for individuals in less than ideal situations," according to a recent notice for proposals. DARPA wants "a public wall anyone can monitor or post messages on, but only correct people can decrypt," says Frederic Jacobs, an independent security researcher. He notes one problem with this approach is the structure would have higher latency and be harder to deploy at scale. DARPA's effort also suggests the rise of encryption apps is inevitable.