DHS invests $1 million in start-ups to secure the IoT

DHS invests $1 million in start-ups to secure the IoT

DHS invests $1 million in start-ups to secure the IoT
DHS invests $1 million in start-ups to secure the IoT

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is awarding $1 million in funding to five start-ups developing technologies to secure the IoT.

The money is being allocated to the start-ups as they advance through to Phase 2 of the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP), run by the DHS Cybersecurity Division of Science and Technology Directorate to try and solve DHS’s most difficult challenges.

Specifically, the work falls under the SVIP Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS) initiative, which looks for ‘non-traditional performers’, such as start-ups, to develop solutions to improve situational awareness and security measures for protecting IoT domains.

Related: Businesses need more focus on smart device security, says Samsung

The winners are…

The five companies receiving Phase 2 awards are:

  • Factom, based in Austin, Texas – $199,980 to authenticate devices to prevent spoofing and ensure data integrity by leveraging the blockchain
  • Ionic Security, based in Atlanta, Georgia – $199,800 to apply a distributed data protection model to solve the authentication, detection and confidentiality challenges that impact distributed IoT devices
  • Machine-to-Machine Intelligence Corporation (M2Mi), based in Moffett Field, California – $200,000 to create a deployable open source version of the SPECK cryptographic protocol to address IoT security by making a light weight crypto package that can be run on IoT devices
  • Pulzze Systems, based in Santa Clara, California – $200,000 to secure infrastructures by improving visibility and providing dynamic detection as components connect or disconnect from a networked system
  • Whitescope, based in Half Moon Bay, California – $200,000 to build a secure wireless communications gateway made specifically for IoT devices and compliant with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 standard

Related: Blockchain: transforming the IoT’s security vulnerability into a strategic advantage

For the benefit of start-ups

After successfully completing a proof of concept demonstration in Phase 1, these five companies mark the first class of SVIP IoT Security portfolio companies to enter Phase 2, where they will be tasked with producing and demonstrating a pilot-ready prototype, according to a DHS statement.

Speaking about the program, acting DHS under secretary for science and technology Dr Robert Griffin said: “We have made it easier for start-ups to better understand the DHS mission and challenges so DHS S&T can benefit from the talent and creativity of the innovation community.”

The program has also been welcomed by Jim Carlsson, CEO of Swedish network security company, Clavister.

“This is an important step because IoT security is a problem that can affect everyone, as we saw with last year’s giant DDoS attacks which were launched using the Mirai botnet,” he said.

“Cybersecurity commentators are recognizing the need for intervention and regulation around the security of IoT devices to protect our increasingly connected, always-on networks. This investment by the DHS will help accelerate security deployments on connected devices.”

Related: AT&T, IBM, Nokia form IoT Cybersecurity Alliance to tackle device threats