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US Military Is Looking At Blockchain Technology To Secure Nuclear Weapons ( 62

Lasrick quotes a report from Quartz: Blockchain technology has been slow to gain adoption in non-financial contexts, but it could turn out to have invaluable military applications. DARPA, the storied research unit of the U.S. Department of Defense, is currently funding efforts to find out if blockchains could help secure highly sensitive data, with potential applications for everything from nuclear weapons to military satellites. The report adds: "The case for using a blockchain boils down to a concept in computer security known as 'information integrity.' That's basically being able to track when a system or piece of data has been viewed or modified. In DARPA's case, blockchain tech could offer crucial intelligence on whether a hacker has modified something in a database, or whether they're surveilling a particular military system. This September, DARPA, which stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (the agency helped create the internet, among other things), awarded a $1.8 million contract to a computer security firm called Galois. The firm's assignment is to formally verify -- a sort of computer-code audit, using mathematics -- a particular type of blockchain tech supplied by a company called Guardtime. Formal verification is one way to build nearly unhackable code, and it's a big part of DARPA's approach to security. If the verification goes well, it could inch DARPA closer to using some form of blockchain technology for the military, DARPA's program manger behind the blockchain effort, Timothy Booher, said. 'We're certainly thinking through a lot of applications,' he says. 'As Galois does its verification work and we understand at a deep level the security properties of this [technology] then I would start to set up a series of meetings [with the rest of the agency] to start that dialog.'"
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US Military Is Looking At Blockchain Technology To Secure Nuclear Weapons

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  • by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2016 @08:02PM (#53058903)
    I am old, and one of the geeks that has been building networks and connecting people to the internet since the 94. Can you tell me again what DARPA stands for? Speak up sonny.
    • I get the cynicism of the Simpson's post (and chuckled along with it.) But in reality, this is a pretty good idea. The NSA suffered a second Contractor theft of Government secrets just a short time ago and there's no doubt that positive control of Top Secret information is more vital than ever in today's environment. With the exposure of highly advanced persistent threat tools becoming more common place, exasperated attacks from foreign intelligence services, organized crime, and such forth, being able to q
  • joshua what are you doing?

  • Storage (Score:4, Funny)

    by Vrallis ( 33290 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2016 @08:44PM (#53059059) Homepage

    Then they'll store it on a pile of 8" floppies.

  • The only security our nuclear weapons need is for a designer to go in, remove one piece, and keep it locked in a safe fifteen feet away from said weapon. Given the complexity of our nuclear weapons (I don't think we are using any Gun-type Uranium models anymore, could be wrong), and the required timing of the explosive charges (I'm thinking of another type here; may not apply to all), that piece of hardware has to be reinstalled in the nuclear weapon in the right place (according to the right measurements,

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      Isn't there a requirement that the ICBMs be ready to launch within 30 seconds notice, or something aggressive like that?

      If so, finding and reinstalling the missing piece of hardware within that 30 second window is going to be a challenge.

      • Meh, those ICBMs are all underground, in bunkers designed to withstand a nuke. They have time.

        Plus if the enemy is attacking the farmland that houses these bunkers, it's not attacking any major population centers. Major population centers, of which many have an AEGIS cruiser (I think it's AEGIS, need to double-check, but it's late here), capable of providing limited anti-ICBM capability.

        Russia is the only player who could attempt such a feat, and while national pride is currently swelling, it doesn't pay th

        • > Meh, those ICBMs are all underground, in bunkers designed to withstand a nuke. They have time.

          If you want to conduct a first strike, sure. If you have incoming warhead, not quite. "Withstand a nuke" does not mean what you think it means. It does not mean "The assembly area is going to be intact after a hit with all your tools in the same place on the desk". It means "The missile is going to probably lift-off, but the launch crew is not necessarily going to be a good shape".

          Also, USAF and the Russian St

        • China won't attack the US, the own half the place!

      • There is also the issue of submarines carrying 24 missiles with 3 warheads apiece. That is not a realistic scenario for the whole assembly/disassembly thing.

        That said, this is basically what happened on the missions to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Someone had to screw in the fuses and stuff into the weapon. In person. Inside the aircraft.

  • by Brannon ( 221550 ) on Tuesday October 11, 2016 @11:43PM (#53059821)

    > The firm's assignment is to formally verify -- a sort of computer-code audit, using mathematics

    That's like saying: "an MRI is a sort of selfie, using magnets".

  • by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @01:10AM (#53060103)
    If you don't want a jailbreak, don't connect the cell door locks to the internet.

    If you don't want a nuclear war, don't connect your launch controls to the internet.

    Why do I even have to say this?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Google Stuxnet, Snowden. Internet is not the only route to breaching systems. I personally like that insiders or clever zero-days have harder time manipulating stuff, nuclear weapons or otherwise.

  • by RobertNotBob ( 597987 ) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 @08:39AM (#53061133)
    The thing about DARPA is... they are looking at EVERYTHING. So yeah, they may have awarded a million dollar contract (which is trivial to them, BTW) to study Technology X; but that doesn't mean that anybody in the military is about to implement it. - Heck, that doesn't even mean that anybody in the military has even asked for a solution to that problem. DARPA researches all sorts of stuff that never see the light of day.

You can tell how far we have to go, when FORTRAN is the language of supercomputers. -- Steven Feiner