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Secure and Resilient Mobile Network Infrastructure R&D Project

City infrastructureThe Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Study on Mobile Device Security identified threats to and security challenges in mobile network infrastructure that could negatively impact the federal government’s use of mobile technologies. It also identified the need for government research and development (R&D) to address the risks. The study concluded that targeted R&D could inform development and adoption of standards to improve security and resilience of critical mobile communications networks.

DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) Mobile Security R&D Program has established the Secure and Resilient Mobile Network Infrastructure (SRMNI) project to address the threats and challenges to the nation’s mobile network infrastructure. Each of the nine R&D projects is being managed by S&T’s Office of Mission & Capability Support on behalf of CISA.

Mobile device and mobile network elements extend from the device through the radio access and core networks to the internet and into enterprise systems. Through its SRMNI project, S&T is working with several performers on innovative approaches to improving protection of the cellular mobile infrastructure against threats. 

These threats impact the following elements of the mobile network infrastructure:

  • The air interface between the mobile device and the Radio Access Network (RAN).
  • The RAN cellular tower/base station.
  • Virtualized elements of the RAN or the core network.
  • Signaling System 7 (SS7), Diameter, and other signaling protocols within the cellular core network.
  • Traffic sent from the core network to the internet or enterprise systems or networks (e.g., ESINet for NG911), across third party transport networks connecting RAN and core networks, and connectivity to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs)/Next Generation 911 systems.
  • Security of enterprise systems and data accessed via mobile technologies.

To solicit qualified R&D proposals, DHS S&T issued a Broad Agency Announcement Solicitation (BAA) 70RSAT19RB00000001, under the project name “Secure and Resilient Mobile Network Infrastructure.” Through this BAA call, DHS sought R&D proposals from the mobile R&D community to develop technologies that will improve the security and resilience of the mobile network infrastructure, including 2G, 3G, LTE/4G, and emerging 5G technologies. The SRMNI BAA specifically sought R&D proposals focused on the following Technical Topic Areas (TTAs):

  • TTA #1 focused on 2G, 3G, and 4G network protections.
  • TTA #2 focused on building security into 5G networks and leveraging 5G to demonstrate solutions that meet government security needs. TTA #2 also focuses on development of end-to-end protection of network traffic, including development of a standardized secure voice and video capability for unclassified government communications.
  • TTA #3 sought innovative approaches to improve government visibility of network traffic from mobile devices to identify potential malware, attacks or attempts to exfiltrate data from or through the device.

Following a competitive review process, nine R&D partners were selected from the submitted research proposals to conduct SRMNI projects addressing the above TTAs. 

Following is the roster of SRMNI R&D performers and a brief summary of each of the nine projects:

More information about these SRMNI R&D projects is available in the Secure & Resilient Mobile Network Infrastructure and Emergency Communications R&D Guidebook.

For more information on how to work with us visit our Work with S&T page or email us at: IA_STMCS@hq.dhs.gov.

Last Updated: 03/03/2022
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