Pentagon quietly transfers 175 million internet addresses worth $4BILLION to mysterious firm at shared workspace in Florida and Virginia Beach
'It's the biggest thing in the history of the internet': Pentagon quietly transfers 175 million internet addresses worth $4BILLION to mysterious firm at shared workspace in Florida
- Transfer of idle DoD IP addresses took place minutes before Trump left office
- Huge swathe of 175 million addresses accounts for 4% of the entire internet
- They are now under the control of mysterious Global Resource Systems LLC
- Company's address is listed in a co-working space above a bank in Florida
- Reporter who visited the address found no representative and was told to leave
- Now Pentagon says it is running a 'pilot' to 'identify potential vulnerabilities'
A very strange thing happened on the internet the day President Joe Biden was sworn in.
A shadowy company residing at a shared workspace above a Florida bank announced to the world´s computer networks that it was now managing a colossal, previously idle chunk of the internet owned by the U.S. Department of Defense.
That real estate has since more than quadrupled to 175 million addresses - about 4 percent the size of the entire current internet. It's also more than twice the size of the internet space actually used by the Pentagon.
'It is massive. That is the biggest thing in the history of the internet,' said Doug Madory, director of internet analysis at Kentik, a network operating company.
The sell off of Internet space sparked theories the Pentagon could be eventually responding to repeated demands to monitise its collections of millions of dormant web pages.
But it now seems officials hope to place the pages on the open market in order to allow them to gather huge amounts of intelligence data about Internet users, including hostile actors.
The military hopes to 'assess, evaluate and prevent unauthorized use of DoD IP address space,' said a statement issued Friday by Brett Goldstein, chief of the Pentagon's Defense Digital Service, which is running the project.
But it has not answered many basic questions, beginning with why it chose to entrust management of the address space to a company that seems not to have existed until September.
The company had nearly $40 million in publicly disclosed federal contracts over the past decade, with the FBI and the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency among its customers.
That man, Raymond Saulino, is also listed as a principal in a company called Tidewater Laskin Associates, which was incorporated in 2018 and obtained an FCC license in April 2020.
It shares the same Virginia Beach, Virginia, address - a UPS store - in corporate records as Packet Forensics. The two have different mailbox numbers.
Calls to the number listed on the Tidewater Laskin FCC filing are answered by an automated service that offers four different options but doesn´t connect callers with a single one, recycling all calls to the initial voice recording.