Disassociating Networks

The bottleneck in the supply chain of Disassociating Networks is not a personnel problem, it is an automation problem.

Image comparing low-attribution node launch rates per hour: An exceptional human can launch 1 node per hour, whereas an Autonomous Engine can launch 10,000 nodes per hour.

What you need is an autonomous launch and maintenance engine (an 'Engine' for short).


React in time

Disassociating networks start to grow stale unless at least one node within them is replaced roughly once per hour. This limits the number of networks a team working manually can sustain to 1 network per three people (or two, if shifts are lengthened to 12 hours). This leaves such teams susceptible to being overwhelmed by demand precisely when they are needed most. In contrast, Engines can launch thousands of networks into a stockpile and maintain them automatically. The result is that you can have a warehouse of networks at your disposal which you can deliver within 30 seconds of when they are requested.

Graph comparing cold start launch times of low-attribution networks: 1 Operator takes 4 hours, 4 Operators take 1 hour, and an Engine takes 30 minutes.
Image of network around the globe.


Respond at scale

Properly designed, an Engine can not only launch and maintain networks, but also create copies of itself to accelerate the tempo of network creation exponentially. Assuming an infinite supply of servers, one Engine could spawn over 17 million networks within the four hours it would take a person to set up a single comparable network manually. The point here is not to say such a number of networks is necessary but, rather, that the maximum practical limit of networks that could be launched globally is now within reach of those with commercial off-the-shelf tools. You should have them too.


Preserve Resources

The number of people, skills, and credentials involved means that a manually-built disassociating network typically costs $400k to $500k per year. This price point is beyond the reach of the commercial world, though the need for such network’s flexibility and defensive characteristics has increased over the past six years. Engines were invented in the early 2010s to bridge this price gap. Competition has done the rest – with an Engine-launched network of equivalent capabilities to those built manually for military use costing $25 to $30k per year.

Image of two military personnel walking through a data center
Image of military team discussion in a room


Focus the team on tailored work

Automation gives people time to do the tasks machines cannot. Imagine what your team or contractors could do if they were not conducting network tradecraft by hand.


Where to use disassociating networks

Comms in contested urban environments

Comms in contested urban environments

This system, known as Hummingbird, solves the very specific problem of reducing the risk of teams or drone swarms working in contested urban settings exposing themselves through their communications. Hummingbird ties into commercial cellular networks, then links into a temporary moving target defense network composed of a combination of medium breaks and commercial cloud infrastructure to disassociate the assets in the field from the people with whom they are communicating, while also making the signal appear to be innocuous.

Intelligence gathering and disassociation

Intelligence gathering and disassociation

This system protects the context, as well as the content, of communications. While encryption serves to prevent an adversary from knowing precisely what words are said over a video conference, chat, or call, the fact that a certain set of entities or persons are communicating in an encrypted manner at a given time can, itself, be sufficient to infer what actions will be taking place. This system also enables persona management and intelligence collection without fear of burnback by disassociating the user from their activity.

Remote access

Remote access

This system serves to provide secure, resilient communications networks for contractors needing to remotely access (for maintenance or control) equipment in the field. In such situations, the systems must address three competing needs simultaneously in order to be effective: Foremost is that the connection must be stable, fast, and efficient to use. Second is the need to disassociate the maintenance teams from the equipment they are servicing to prevent an adversary from locating the positions and types of equipment in the field. Third is preventing malware that may have reached computers controlled by maintenance contractors from traversing into the equipment being maintained.

What to ask from industry

How to bring disassociating networks to your team