Throughout October 2017, DHS S&T’s Cyber Security Division (CSD) promoted its role in mobilizing cybersecurity innovation as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). With a string of cyber-centered conversations taking place against the backdrop of this more than four-week event, S&T delivered a variety of informative content and cyber-savvy tips.
S&T supports its wide range of research and development projects by providing researchers, businesses and organizations in the cybersecurity community multiple pathways to partnership. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP), and the Broad Agency Announcement and the Long Range Broad Agency Announcement funding vehicles are some of the ways CSD partners with industry, academia and international researchers to secure technology that meets next-generation cybersecurity demands. As the complexity of cyber-threats evolve at an exponential rate, so does the urgency to imagine, develop and implement innovative solutions to defend against them.
For instance, CSD’s Mobile Security R&D program recently awarded 8.6 million to five mobile application security research projects; it then awarded $640,000 to the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute for research into prepositioned cyber-threats originating in the mobile device supply chain. Another mobile app security award was awarded to Progeny Systems Corporation ($750,000) to develop a more secure development environment and deployment process, enhancing the security of mobile app development on all platforms.
S&T also awarded funding to four other organizations through the SBIR program. BlueRISC was granted $750,000 for research and development into a malware prediction solution that empowers network defenders to forecast attacks. Digital Bazaar Inc. was awarded the same amount; its research involves use-cases for blockchains in digital identity management. Red Balloon Security was awarded $747,000 to enhance the functionality of its Symbiote Defense intrusion-detection system, with CSD’s Application of Network Measurement Science project overseeing the R&D. And, Evernym was awarded $749,000 to develop an easy-to-use, decentralized mechanism for managing public and private keys needed for the secure and scalable deployment of blockchain technologies.
Meanwhile, SVIP granted $67,000 to Helig Defense, LLC, who produces a memory sentry solution that minimizes memory-safety vulnerabilities in runtime applications and $149,000 to NexiTech, Inc. for a system that creates multiple abstractions of devices and networks to shield critical personal and financial data from cyberattacks. Both awards support the Next Generation Cyber Apex program’s work to provide cybersecurity technology to the financial services sector.
The future of cybersecurity demands everyone take steps to secure their personal and work networks, because that small role can help defend the nation’s financial institutions and critical infrastructure against cyberattacks. Cyber-threats are real; dealing with them requires an understanding of their imminence and a knowledge of how they can be prevented.
The vision of the future of cybersecurity is to make everyone vigilant about their cybersecurity posture, but there are those who go above and beyond to face the threats head-on, complex as they may be. This can be said of the cohort of students who just completed an internship in the DHS Secretary’s Honor program called Cyber Student Volunteer Initiative (CSVI).
These 60+ interns, coming from all around the country, spent 10 weeks in hands-on cybersecurity roles with different DHS components. They were recognized by CSD Director Doug Maughan, and representatives from other components at a program-ending event, for their efforts and continued eagerness to combat cyber-threats, even as the road gets tougher.
The future of cybersecurity can be a bright one, with enough people ready and willing to join the fight. Meanwhile, S&T CSD will keep working to educate and partner with industry, the public, across DHS and other agencies to find the best ways to secure cyberspace.