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Millions of the Pentagon’s Dormant IP Addresses Sprang to Life, Just Minutes Before Trump Left Office


While the world was focused on President Donald Trump's departure on Jan. 20, an obscure Florida corporation quietly revealed a shocking development to the world's computer networks: it was now controlling a vast unused swath of the internet that had been owned by the US military for decades. 

What happened after that was even stranger when Global Resource Systems LLC, the company, continued to expand its zone of influence. It quickly claimed the Pentagon's 56 million IP addresses. After three months, the number had risen to nearly 175 million dollars. That's nearly 6% of a coveted traditional segment of the internet known as IPv4, where such vast pieces are worth billions of dollars on the open market. 

Telecommunications powerhouses of well-known names like AT&T, China Telecom, and Verizon dominate the largest swaths of the internet. Global Resource Systems, a company created only in September with no publicly known federal contracts and no apparent public-facing website, was now at the top of the list. 

On Friday, a receptionist at the shared workplace told a reporter that she couldn't give her any details about the company and asked her to leave. Global Resources Systems' control of Pentagon addresses was only revealed in the mysterious world of Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), the messaging system that instructs internet companies on how to channel traffic around the world. Messages started to arrive informing network administrators that IP addresses previously allocated to the Pentagon but inactive could now accept traffic if routed to Global Resource Systems. 

After the introduction of BGP in the 1980s, network administrators have been speculating about the most drastic change in IP address space allocation. The Defense Digital Service, an elite Pentagon agency that reports directly to the Secretary of Defense, is responsible for the transition. The DDS describes itself as a "SWAT team of nerds" associated with solving departmental emergency problems and doing groundbreaking work to enable significant technical advances for the military. 

The Pentagon's DDS, which was founded in 2015, has a Silicon Valley-style office. In recent years, it has worked on a variety of special initiatives, including designing biometric software to help service members distinguish between friendly and enemy forces on the battlefield and ensuring the encryption of emails Pentagon personnel exchanged with third parties about coronavirus vaccines. 

The DDS's director, Brett Goldstein, said in a statement that his unit had approved a "pilot effort" to publicize the Pentagon's IP room. According to Goldstein, “this pilot will analyze, evaluate, and prevent unauthorized use of DoD IP address space.” In addition, this pilot could reveal possible security flaws. 

The plan, according to Goldstein, is one of the Pentagon's many attempts to constantly improve the cyber posture and security in response to advanced persistent threats. “We're working together through the Department of Defense to ensure that any possible vulnerabilities are addressed,” he added.

The details of what the campaign is attempting to accomplish are still unknown. The Pentagon refused to answer a variety of questions about the project, including why Goldstein's unit used a little-known Florida company to carry out the pilot rather than having the Defense Department itself "announce" the addresses via BGP messages, which would have been a much more common method. 

The Global Resource Systems announcements, on the other hand, seem to have directed a flood of internet traffic toward Defense Department addresses. According to Madory's tracking, large-scale internet traffic movements started almost immediately after the IP addresses were announced on January 20. 

Russell Goemaere, a spokesman for the Defense Department, confirmed in a statement to The Washington Post that the Pentagon still owns all the IP address space and hadn’t sold any of it to a private party. 

Since the programme isn't public, a person familiar with the pilot effort agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity. He said it's critical for the Department of defense to have "visibility and accountability" into its various cyber tools, including IP addresses, and to maintain the addresses appropriately so they'll be available if and when the Pentagon needs them.

U.S. Cyber Military Forces Execute Retaliatory Cyber-attack Against Iran

In a retaliatory cyber-attack against Iran, U.S. cyber military forces cut down a database utilized by its Revolutionary Guard Corps to target ships in the Persian Gulf, just hours after 'the Islamic Republic shot down an American Drone'.

Right now, Iran still can't seem to recuperate the majority of the data lost in the attack and is attempting to re-establish military communication networks connected to the database.

As indicated by the Washington Post, the U.S President Donald Trump purportedly approved the U.S. Cyber Command's strike however the government has not openly recognized its occurrence.

A U.S. official who addressed the Washington Post additionally noted that the cyber-attack was intended to harm for Iran – however not to the degree that would further heighten pressures between the two sides.

Elissa Smith, a Pentagon spokesperson said in a statement, “As a matter of policy and for operational security, we do not discuss cyberspace operations, intelligence, or planning.”

In spite of the attack, the Islamic Republic has stayed rather active in the Strait of Hormuz, holding onto the English oil tanker Stena Impero in mid-July.

Recently discovered Fox News, it happened in June that Iran shut off a portion of its military radar sites around the time the U.S. was ready to dispatch retaliatory strikes, thusly it’s not clear if those radar sites were killed by cyber-attacks or if Iran shut them off intentionally fully expecting them.

In any case these strikes are not first major operations executed by the U.S. Cyber Command, as the organization a year ago had disrupted a Russian entity's endeavours to utilize Internet trolls to cultivate discontent among American voters during the 2018 midterm elections.

"US’ Giant Military Contract Has a Hitch", Says Deap Ubhi, an Entrepreneur of Indian Descent.

The founder of a local search site “Burrp!”, Deap Ubhi is a lesser known entrepreneur.

He joined Amazon in 2014 and motivated start-ups and other organizations to embrace cloud computing products.

He in less than a couple of years left, on a journey to start a company that furnished technology to restaurants.

Later on, he joined a Pentagon effort to employ techies. He wished to make a super effective search engine and according to what he said, also to help American people.

But as it turns out, Ubhi’s part in the Pentagon has landed him right in midst of one of the most prominent federal IT contracts.

A $10 billion deal of getting cloud computing to Pentagon, attracted the top tech companies when the project was announced in 2017.

Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Oracle and Google, all wanted to seal the deal in their own ways.

But there was a catch to it all; the contract would go to only ‘one’ cloud vendor. And Amazon happened to close the deal with the capability of fulfilling Pentagon’s demands.

This is where Ubhi came in, especially his ties with Amazon, a place where he now works again.

Oracle, who under no circumstances could have landed the deal, vehemently criticized the one-vendor attitude.

The organization is now fighting in a federal court about Ubhi’s alleged inclination towards Amazon and its effect on the said deal.

Before the suit was filed, Pentagon had no found no suspicious influence of Ubhi and hence kept evaluating the deal despite Oracle’s lawsuit.

Further on, more information about Ubhi was discovered and Pentagon declined a request for disclosing it.

The winner of the deal was to be announced in April. When contacted by Amazon, both Ubhi and Pentagon refused to comment.

Oracle didn’t comment on the issue outside the court but during the proceedings it mentioned Ubhi’s outspoken inclination towards Amazon by providing the proof of a tweet via Ubhi’s handle.

According to the White house press secretary, the president of the US is not a part of this war of the vendors.

President Trump has never been involved in a government contract before so if he as much as even points at something regarding this situation it would be a first.

The cloud contract is being overseen by a Defense Department Procurement Official, commonly known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI).

The detection of the officials who’s actually chose the winner has not been made yet.

The Pentagon’s transition to cloud computing is being seen to by a team directed by the chief information officer, Dana Deasy.

Cloud computing would contribute a lot in the battlefield and hence the American government is keen on giving the contract to the best.

Reportedly, for some time Ubhi worked on a market research for JEDI while he was working at Pentagon.

Oracle in the court cited the internal documents where Ubhi articulated support towards a single cloud approach.

Oracle also thinks Ubhi had something to do with the decision to select a single cloud provider.

In return, Amazon said that Ubhi worked on JEDI only for seven weeks that too at the early stages and that there were over 70 people involved in the development.

Amazon and Ubhi’s ‘Tablehero’ were to engage in a partnership of which there is no proof as yet. Ubhi hasn’t been replying to the emails of investors either.

Pentagon mentioned that the single cloud would let the movement be faster and ensure more security. This statement was later asserted by the Government Accountability Office.

Both IBM and oracle filed heavy protests against the Government accountability Office which was later denied in Oracle’s case and rejected for IBM.

Oracle, which has a small cloud market shares, then took the issue to the federal courts of the US.

The Oracle lawsuit stands to profit Microsoft as it now has improved capabilities and hence could be a strong competitor to Amazon.

It doesn’t matter whether Ubhi molded the contract. Pentagon’s justifications support its decision to use a single cloud approach.

The major motivation behind the decision has always been helping the defense make better data driven decisions.