DARPA seeks to blend biometrics with passwords in DOD cyber security without new hardware

ARLINGTON, Va., 15 Jan. 2012. Military information security experts at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in Arlington, Va., are asking for industry's help in developing ways to blend biometrics into U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) military cyber security systems without installing new hardware. The intent is no only to save time and money, but also to help bolster existing DOD computer security that relies primarily on requiring uses to type in long and complex passwords.

DARPA on Friday issued a broad agency announcement (DARPA-BAA-12-06) for the initial phase of the Active Authentication program to develop software-based biometric approaches to verify the identities of authorized DOD computer users not only at login, but also throughout the courses of the users' computer sessions.

The Active Authentication program seeks to change the DOD's current cyber security focus from user passwords and common access cards when validating identity on DOD computer systems. Instead, the program seeks to focus on software-based user biometrics that does not require installation of new cyber-security software.

DARPA is particularly interested in user biometrics such as eye tracking on the page; the speed with which the individual reads content; methods and structure of e-mail and other communications; keystrokes; how the user searches for and selects information; and how the user reads the material he selects. These observable traits, taken together, can create a cognitive footprint of the user.

Using this kind of cognitive footprint to verify the identity of DOD computer users would replace or augment using long, complex passwords and common access cards. Today's approaches, DARPA officials say, only verify's the user's identity at login, and have no way to verify the user originally authenticated is the user still in control of the keyboard. As a result, unauthorized users may improperly obtain extended access to information system resources if a password is compromised or if a user does not take adequate measures after initially authenticating at the console.

The Active Authentication program will be in three phases, and this solicitation pertains only to the first phase, which focuses on new ways of capturing the cognitive fingerprint by using biometrics that do not require the installation of additional hardware for information security.

Later, the program will focus developing a solution that integrates any available biometrics using new authentication suitable for deployment on a standard DOD desktop or laptop computer. Future solutions must be developed with open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) so other software or hardware biometrics available in the future could be added.

Companies interested in participating should submit proposals no later than 6 March 2012. For questions or concerns contact Active Authentication program manager, DARPA's Richard Guidorizzi, by e-mail at ActiveAuthentication@darpa.mil.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/ODA/DARPA/CMO/DARPA-BAA-12-06/listing.html.

Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:

  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

XPedite7575 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U VPX-REDI Module

The XPedite7575 is a high-performance, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the 5th genera...

XTend7103 | COM Express® Carrier for COM Express® Type 10 Mezzanine Modules

The XTend7103 is a COM Express® carrier card designed to provide a low-cost and compact platform ...

XPort6173 | 3U VPX Carrier for Two 2.5 in. Solid-State Drives (SSDs)

The XPort6173 supports two, standard, 2.5 in. Solid-State Drives (SSDs) in a single 0.8 in. or 1....

XPedite7478 | Intel® Core™ i7 Processor-Based 3U VPX-REDI SBC with Integrated 1553 and CAN Bus

The XPedite7478 is a high-performance, low-power, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the...

XCalibur1740 | Freescale QorIQ P2020 Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 6U VPX Module

The XCalibur1740 is a high-performance, multiprocessing, 6U VPX, single board computer that is id...

XCalibur4640 | Intel® Xeon® D Processor-Based 6U VPX Module with Quad 10GbE and Dual XMC/PMC Sites

The XCalibur4640 is a high-performance, 6U OpenVPX™, multiprocessing, single board computer that ...

XPedite7472 | Intel® Core™ i7 Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U VPX-REDI SBC with SecureCOTS™

The XPedite7472 is a secure and high-performance, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the...

XCalibur4440 | Intel® Core™ i7 Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 6U VPX Module

The XCalibur4440 is a high-performance, 6U VPX, multiprocessing, single board computer that is id...

XCalibur4444 | Intel® Core™ i7 Processor-Based Conduction-Cooled 6U VPX Module

The XCalibur4444 is a high-performance, multiprocessing, 6U VPX, single board computer that is id...

XCalibur1840 | Freescale Twelve-Core T4240 Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 6U VPX Module

The XCalibur1840 is a high-performance, 6U VPX, single board computer supporting Freescale QorIQ ...

Related Companies

Southwest Antennas

Designs and manufactures high-performance RF and Microwave antennas and accessories designed for today’s communicatio...

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a long established techno...


Mil Spec EMC/NEMP/ filters and EMC product solutions for military applications.


Spectracom supports mission-critical communications systems with precise and reliable time and frequency synchronizat...

Premier Polymers

Provides seamless epoxy flooring and industrial resinous coatings

CORWIL Technology Corp

CORWIL Technology, the premier US based, IC assembly and test services subcontractor, offering full back-end assembly...


IndustryARC primarily focuses on Cutting Edge Technologies and Newer Applications of the Market. Our Custom Research ...

DiCon Fiberoptics Inc

Offers fiber optic switches, tunable filters, and VOAs. Founded in 1986, the company is a US based, AS9100 certified,...

Harris Corporation

Harris provides advanced, technology-based solutions that solve government and commercial customers' mission critical...

GE Intelligent Platforms

Provides software, hardware and services with expertise in automation and embedded computing. We offer a unique found...


Harsh Environment Protection for Advanced Electronics and Components

This webinar will offer an opportunity to learn more about ultra-thin Parylene conformal coatings – how they are applied, applications they protect today, and the properties and benefits they offer, includin...

New Design Tools That Help You Develop Radar That Sees the Un-seeable and Detects the Undetectable

Xilinx EW/ISR System Architect, Luke Miller, has new tricks and he’s going to tell you all about them in a new Xilinx Webinar—for free. His Webinar will cover new ways to implement Radar functions including ...
Sponsored by:

Press Releases


Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has received a contract from Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to supply its small form factor ...

Innovative Integration Announces the FMC-Servo

Camarillo, CA June 19, 2015, Innovative Integration, a trusted supplier of signal processing and data acquisition hardware and software solutions, today announced the FMC-S...


Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has further enhanced its innovative VRD1 high definition (HD) video management system (VMS) w...

All Access Sponsors

Mil & Aero Magazine

August 2015
Volume 26, Issue 8

Download Our Apps




Follow Us On...


Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles