BAE Systems to Develop New Cyber Tools for DARPA to Improve Security of Electronic Data Formats


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BAE Systems has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop new cyber tools designed to help prevent vulnerabilities in electronic files that can lead to cyberattacks. Development of these tools will be part of DARPA’s Safe Documents (SafeDocs) program, which aims to more effectively identify and reject malicious data in a variety of electronic formats.

Every day, individuals and organizations in military, government and commercial industries receive electronic content, such as Portable Document Format (PDF) and digital media files, from unauthorized or potentially compromised sources, which creates security risks. As part of the SafeDocs program, BAE Systems’ FAST Labs™ research and development team will create two different cyber tools. The first tool seeks to recover, simplify, and automatically select safe feature subsets within electronic data formats to help encode the data safely and unambiguously, while the second is a toolkit to help software developers avoid vulnerabilities in the software they create to process complex electronic data.

“Research on the SafeDocs program will leverage BAE Systems’ expertise in cyber, algorithmic, and systems engineering domains to give developers tools that currently don’t exist in government or commercial markets to more easily and efficiently ensure the security of electronic documents,” said Anne Taylor, product line director of the Cyber Technology group at BAE Systems. “As the creation and use of electronic documents continues to grow every day, so does the risk for potential cyberattacks, making it essential we create solutions that are built with security in mind to help keep content safe.”

The research for Phase 1 of the SafeDocs program, which is being developed with funding from DARPA, adds to BAE Systems’ cyber technology portfolio. Work for the program will be completed with teammate American University and will take place at the company’s facilities in Arlington, Virginia and Burlington, Massachusetts.

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