AI Protects DoD Networks from Zero-Day Exploits


The Department of Defense’s network is protected from malware threats by Sharkseer, one of the top National Security Agency or NSA cybersecurity programs. According to an agency spokeswoman, the DoD is transferring the Sharkseer program to the Defense Information Systems Agency as it aligns better with the DISA mission, according to NSA spokeswoman, Natalie Pittore.

The transfer from NSA to DISA has been laid out in the in the National Defense Authorization Act. Back on July 23rd of this year, the NDAA was negotiated by Congress, but the actual hand-off seems to have been planned for a long time. According to congressional records, for numerous years, the top NSA officials have deemed the program as “among the highest cybersecurity initiatives “

Sharkseer utilizes artificial intelligence or AI to inspect incoming traffic and search for any possible vulnerabilities. The program, even at a basic level, examines all of the DoD incoming traffic for zero-day exploits and advanced threats on more personal levels. It also monitors documents, incoming traffic that could possibly infect the network, and emails.

The program instantly automatically determines both the location and the identity of computer hosts that have either sent or received malware. Also, Sharkseer acts as a sort of “sandbox”, Pittore describes it as a government officials’ application used for testing files that look suspicious by utilizing automated behavior analysis.

The DoD’s cybersecurity was criticized by Congress who accused it of being deployed in a “piece meal fashion.” However, they have actually given the Sharkseer program praise for apparently being a successful program and detecting more than 2 billion cyber events all across the DoD’s networks, both unclassified and classified according to a statement by Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va.

Sharkseer seems to have escalated from a concept to an actual reality. This happened back in 2014, when $30 million of congressional funding was invested in the program.  Congress has attempted to gain more funds for Sharkseer to help ensure fiscal years, but the amount that was eventually proportioned is unclear.

Both houses of Congress still need to approve the NDAA and it also has to be signed off by the President, even though Sharkseer provision is not thought to be controversial.

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