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Spy Tools Come to the Cloud

Cloud computing is increasingly being used for intelligence-gathering and “threat analysis” as government vendors like Amazon Web Services join forces with analytics outfits that are meshing cognitive computing and other forms of data analysis with cloud computing horsepower.

Among the initial platforms for much of this intelligence activity is the AWS “GovCloud,” a walled-off cloud region created after Amazon won a huge CIA cloud contract in 2013. GovCloud, which went live last year, includes special provisions to create a “government-community cloud” that meets additional security and operational standards such as restricting access to “U.S. persons.”

Among Amazon’s analytics partners is Digital Reasoning, a trusted cognitive computing startup based in Arlington, Va. It specializes in open source intelligence gathering. AWS and Digital Reasoning have been promoting real-time threat analysis and other open-source intelligence gathering tools on GovCloud. They are also targeting government contractors who are handling increasing amounts of sensitive open-source data.

While cloud vendors like AWS handle government security requirements, analytics service providers like Digital Reasoning are developing application and service controls. The analytics company’s “Synthesys” cloud is currently available on all U.S. AWS cloud regions, the partners said.

The cloud-based cognitive computing tool offers analytics capabilities such as threat intelligence used to anticipate, among other things, network attacks and “knowledge visualization” products.

The cloud-based intelligence platform targets “big data and analytics problems, in particular [for] open-source computing challenges that need to be done at scale but that also need deep analytics to be able to provide the threat intelligence relevant to law enforcement and national security,” Max Peterson, general manager of the AWS Global Public Sector unit, said during a recent webcast.

The Digital Reasoning cognitive computing tool is designed to generate “knowledge graphs of connected objects” gleaned from structured and unstructured data. These “nodes” (profiles of persons or things of interest) and “edges” (the relationships between them) are graphed, “and then being able to take this and put it into time and space,” explained Bill DiPietro, vice president of product management at Digital Reasoning.

Read the full article here.