Sometimes, it just makes sense to go open source. We've seen Microsoft do it, and we've seen Google do it. Now, we see none other than the US Department of Defense do it, with DShell, a network foresnics tool.
It's an impressive thing to see the DoD release a home-built tool to the wild, but like most moves to open source, the agency has reached a ceiling and now welcomes improvements from outside sources.
Whenever the DoD gets hit by a cyber attack, DShell is brought in to analyze the what and where of it. It seems certain that an agency like the DoD would see some unique attacks, but for the most part, attacks on it are little different than attacks on other agencies or companies worldwide. Thus, if DShell is further improved, it could become a lot more useful in getting to the bottom of any given attack.
DShell on GitHub
William Glodek, a Network Security chief at the Army Research Laboratory, says, "The success of Dshell so far has been dependent on a limited group of motivated individuals within government. By next year it should be representative of a much larger group with much more diverse backgrounds to analyze cyber attacks that are common to us all."
With DShell out there, it gives anyone (or any agency) the ability to make use of it themselves, even if they have no intention to feed revised code or additional code back into the system. Ultimately, though, the reason for the open sourcing is to improve the tool's usefulness, and as Mr. Glodek stated above, we should begin to see some real progress being made within the year.
If you want to test DShell out for yourself, be sure to review the prerequisites on the GitHub page.