The US military turned to an unusual strategy to check security breaches in its networks: it gives up some power over a key Internet resource. Kentik and the Washington post learned that the Department of Defense had given Florida startup Global Resource Systems control of approximately 175 million IPv4 addresses. The company began handling long dormant addresses on January 20, but that number grew rapidly over the next three months.
Brett Goldstein, director of the Pentagon’s digital defense service, told the To post that the move was part of a “pilot effort” to investigate and prevent unauthorized use of military IP addresses. It would also help spot “potential vulnerabilities,” Goldstein said.
The Defense Ministry stressed that it still has the IP addresses.
However, it’s unclear exactly what officials hope to accomplish, and the business itself is a mystery. GRS was only established in September 2020 and does not even have a public website. Doug Madory of Kentik has suggested that a flood of data directed at IP addresses could help the military gather information about threats or exploits. And when some Chinese companies use similar IP address numbering schemes for their internal networks, some of their data may be directed to the United States.
Whatever the reasoning, it could be an important decision. The military could use the pilot’s knowledge to prevent hostile governments or cybercriminals from hijacking dormant IP addresses. It also ensures that the United States can manage IP addresses so that they can use them if they want, an To post said the source. As strange as this move is, it could be significant in light of the SolarWinds hacking and other threats to government systems.
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