US IARPA Seeks “Novel Approach” to Developing Spy Proof Rooms

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) has posted an Request for Information (RFI) for highly innovative approaches to securing Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs)

One area of interest is advanced materials or techniques to fully shield SCIFs from unintended radio frequency (RF), optical, magnetic, or acoustic transmissions. Second, we seek novel approaches or technologies enabling more effective and reliable technical surveillance countermeasures (TSCM) to detect and monitor surveillance attacks against existing and future SCIFs. Finally, we must both detect and secure the operation of wireless devices and networks near and within sensitive areas and prevent the
unauthorised entry and operation of a variety of portable electronic devices.

IARPA RFI States, “Our adversaries continue to develop advanced tools and methods to enable technical surveillance attacks against sensitive U.S. facilities and personnel. These attacks are increasingly sophisticated and may exploit a variety of different sensors and data exfiltration paths. It is imperative that we are able to detect the operation and location of any adversarial sensors, whether concealed or hidden in plain sight, and eliminate all possible transmission paths for exfiltration of data.”

In summary, this RFI has multiple specific objectives; it seeks advanced approaches to greatly improve the attenuation of RF and other signal carriers propagating into and out of SCIFs and surrounding areas and highlights windows as a significant priority. It seeks novel approaches to further secure authorised wireless networks. It seeks automated approaches to detecting, characterising, monitoring, and potentially countering a variety of wireless signals in a complex RF environment where many consumer devices and smart building devices may also be in operation. It seeks safe approaches to detecting personal, portable recording and storage devices. In addition, it seeks ways to detect and mitigate energy directed against or into facility for the purpose of surveillance. Finally, this RFI welcomes new approaches to significantly automate or improve any aspect of TSCM across the spectrum of anticipated surveillance attacks.

Responses to this RFI are due no later than 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time, 31 December, 2018