Raytheon BBN Technologies and GrammaTech collaborate to help U.S. government prevent malware in IT devices
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., and ITHACA, N.Y. — Raytheon BBN Technologies and GrammaTech Inc. are collaborating on a $4.8 million contract award under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s VET program. Raytheon BBN Technologies is a wholly owned subsidiary of Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN).
The VET (Vetting Commodity IT Software and Firmware) program seeks to help U.S. government agencies address the threat of malicious code and hidden "backdoor" access in commodity IT devices. Mobile phones, network routers, computer workstations, and other networked devices can be secretly modified to function in unintended ways or spy on users. The funding was awarded Sept. 26, 2013.
Under the program, GrammaTech and Raytheon BBN intend to develop tools and techniques to enable organizations to inspect the software and firmware that exists inside such network-enabled devices and protect them from attack. Raytheon BBN Technologies plans to develop techniques that enable analysts to prioritize elements of software and firmware to examine for hidden malicious functionality. GrammaTech plans to develop the tools that actually examine the software and firmware to allow analysts to demonstrate that they do not have exploitable security vulnerabilities.
"Our scientists are developing new technology that aims to advance the state-of-the-art for analyzing machine code," said Tim Teitelbaum, Ph.D., GrammaTech chief executive officer. "We are leveraging these advances to create a tool that could confirm the absence of broad classes of vulnerabilities."
"The US Department of Defense relies on equipment with components manufactured all over the world," said Jack Marin, Ph.D., vice president for Cyber Security at Raytheon BBN Technologies. "Any backdoors, malicious code, or other vulnerabilities hidden in those components could enable an adversary to do serious damage, including the exfiltration of sensitive data and the sabotage of critical operations. The VET program seeks to enable DoD analysts to vigorously vet software and firmware devices before they are connected to our critical networks."
GrammaTech’s tools are used by software developers worldwide, spanning a myriad of embedded software industries including avionics, government, medical, military, industrial control, and other applications where reliability and security are paramount. Originally spun out of Cornell’s computer science labs, GrammaTech is now both a leading research center for software security and a commercial vendor of software-assurance tools and advanced cyber-security solutions. With both static and dynamic analysis tools that analyze source code as well as binary executables, GrammaTech continues to advance the science of superior software analysis, providing technology for developers to produce safer software.
Raytheon Company, with 2012 sales of $24 billion and 68,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, security and civil markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 91 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems; as well as a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. For more about Raytheon, visit us at www.raytheon.com and follow us on Twitter @Raytheon.