DARPA Seeks Biometric Authentication Software Research

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a division of the US Department of Defense, is seeking biometric authentication software research proposals.

Proposals for the Active Authentication Program should involve innovative biometric-based solutions that can be integrated into current Department of Defense systems without the need for new hardware installations.

According to the DARPA BAA (Broad Agency Announcement):

"The Active Authentication program seeks to change the current focus from user proxies (e.g., passwords and CACs) when validating identity on DoD IT systems to a focus on the individual. Within this program, the intention is to focus on the unique factors that make up the individual, also known as their biometrics, without requiring the deployment of additional hardware sensors. Research resulting from this BAA will support that overall program intent by investigating novel software-based biometric modalities that can be used to provide meaningful and continual authentication when later integrated into a cyber security system."

"The current standard method for validating a user’s identity for authentication on an information system requires humans to do something that is inherently difficult: create, remember, and manage long, complex passwords. Moreover, as long as the session remains active, typical systems incorporate no mechanisms to verify that the user originally authenticated is the user still in control of the keyboard. Thus, unauthorized individuals may improperly obtain extended access to information system resources if a password is compromised or if a user does not exercise adequate vigilance after initially authenticating at the console."

"The Active Authentication program seeks to address this problem by developing novel ways of validating the identity of the person at the console that focus on the unique aspects of the individual through the use of software-based biometrics. Biometrics is defined as the characteristics used to uniquely recognize humans based upon one or more intrinsic physical or behavioral traits. This program focuses on the computational behavioral traits that can be observed through how we interact with the world. Just as when you touch something with your finger you leave behind a fingerprint, when you interact with technology you do so in a pattern based on how your mind processes information, leaving behind a cognitive fingerprint.”

The full DARPA BAA can be downloaded here:

Network Access Control
Biometrics Authentication Software Defense Access Control Research Government DoD Headlines Network Security DARPA Broad Agency Announcement Active Authentication Program
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