Hackers, even AI ones, can’t break into your systems if they’re confused… or so goes the theory.


Intelligence work is often as much about gathering information as it is about disseminating misinformation. To that end, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), the branch of the US Government whose objective it is to solve some of the US’s most critical Intelligence Community challenges, is looking for innovative solutions around deceptive cyber defenses.

In a recent request for information, IARPA contracting officers put out the call to “identify existing capabilities and emerging methods” for protecting data and systems by confusing and otherwise deceiving the adversary prior to and during a cyberattack.

“Historically, denial and deception (D&D) has been used by militaries for defense, whether it be to instill uncertainty or to provide misinformation,” contracting officials explain in the RFI, and, “D&D can also be looked at similarly for increasing cyber defense posture and resiliency.”


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In the RFI, IARPA notes this concept is gaining traction in the private sector but has yet to really mature.

“Many techniques lack rigorous experimental measures of effectiveness, information is insufficient to determine how defensive deception changes attacker behavior or how deception increases the likeliness of early detection of a cyberattack,” according to the notice.

Specifically, IARPA is looking for feedback on existing deception methods, test and evaluation methods, emerging techniques and information on the respondent company’s organizational structure and service offerings. The RFI includes a detailed set of questions for each of the four areas.

Depending on the information received, IARPA plans to hold a one-day workshop on deception tactics, which could lead to research investments in the future.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

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