The Pentagon gave a company control of 175 million IP addresses2021-04-26 19:28 by Daniela
The US Department of Defense puzzled Internet experts by apparently transferring control of tens of millions of dormant IP addresses to an obscure Florida company just before President Donald Trump left the White House.
The IP address range, registered as GRS-DoD, AS8003 became active Jan. 20 in the last minutes of the Trump administration, with several pundits suggesting that the timing may be conspiratorial in nature. The company handed the IP addresses is called Global Resource Systems LLC, a previously unknown company which the Associated Press described Saturday as "shadowy."
Now the Pentagon has finally offered a partial explanation for why it happened. The Defense Department says it still owns the addresses but that it is using a third-party company in a "pilot" project to conduct security research.
In a statement on Friday, Brett Goldstein, the chief of the Pentagon's defense digital service, said federal officials are working to "assess, evaluate and prevent unauthorized use of DoD IP address space" and hopes to "identify potential vulnerabilities" in its fight to curb cyberattacks of US networks, according to the Associated Press.
Whatever the reasoning, it could be an important move. The military might use knowledge from the pilot to prevent hostile governments or cybercriminals from hijacking dormant IP addresses. This also makes sure the US can manage the IP addresses so that it can use them if it likes. As odd as this move is, then, it might be important in light of the SolarWinds hack and other threats to government systems.
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