Boston – Something very unusual happened online the day President Joe Biden was sworn in. A mysterious company located in a co-working space above a bank in Florida has announced for global computer networks that it already manages a large portion of the previously inactive internet owned by the US Department of Defense.
Since then, that ownership has more than quadrupled to 175 million addresses, roughly the size of the Internet today.
“It’s huge. It’s also more than twice the internet space currently used by the Pentagon,” said Doug Madhuri, director of internet analytics at Kentik, a networking company.
After weeks of hesitation on the part of the computing community, the Pentagon is now providing a very brief explanation of what it is doing. But it still doesn’t answer many of the basic questions, ranging from why you decided to entrust managing the address space to a company that seemed to not exist before September.
Brett Goldstein, director of the Pentagon’s Digital Defense Service, which runs the project, said in a statement on Friday that the military hoped to “analyze, evaluate and prevent unauthorized use of the Department of Defense’s IP address space”.
It also hopes to “identify potential vulnerabilities” as part of the defense effort against cyber intrusions from global adversaries, who frequently infiltrate US networks, sometimes operating from unused Internet address blocks.
The statement did not specify whether the contractors will participate in the “pilot project.”
Periodically, the Pentagon faces unauthorized invasions of its space, in part because there has been a shortage of first-generation internet addresses since 2011; It is now auctioning for over $ 25.
Madhuri said that publicizing the address space would make it easier to track invaders and allow the US military “to collect massive amounts of Internet traffic in the background for intelligence threats.”
Some cybersecurity experts have speculated that the Pentagon may use the newly announced space to create “bait,” which are machines configured with vulnerabilities to lure hackers. Or, you may want to set up a dedicated infrastructure – software and servers – to check your traffic for any suspicious activity.
“This greatly increases the space they can monitor,” said Madhuri, who posted on the subject on Saturday on a blog.
What a Pentagon spokesman couldn’t explain on Saturday was why the Department of Defense chose Global Resource Systems LLC, a company with no prior government contracts, to manage the address space.
“It still baffles me why the Department of Defense did it, as did you,” said Paul Fixie, the internet pioneer credited with creating his own naming system and CEO of Farsight Security.
The company has not responded to calls or emails from the Associated Press. It has no web presence, although it does have the grscorp.com domain. His name does not appear in the Plantation, Florida address book, and the receptionist was left blank when an AP reporter asked to speak with a company representative earlier this month. The receptionist found his name on the list of tenants and suggested sending an email. Records show that the company did not obtain a business license from Plantation.