The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced on June 17 that it awarded $199,000 to Factom Inc. based in Austin, Texas, to advance the security of digital identity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
The project titled “Blockchain Software to Prove Integrity of Captured Data From Border Devices” was awarded through Securing the Internet of Things (IoT), DHS said in a press release.
This is the first call for proposals under the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS) which launched in December 2015 to encourage non-traditional performers to offer solutions to some of the toughest threats facing DHS and the homeland security mission, said DHS.
“IoT devices are embedded within our daily lives – from the vehicle we drive to devices we wear – it’s critical to safeguard these devices from adversaries, said DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Reginald Brothers. “S&T is excited to engage our nation’s innovators, helping us to develop novel solutions for the Homeland Security Enterprise.”
The Internet of Things is a convergence of mobile devices, information technology networks, connected sensors and devices. The DHS OTS call for security solutions seeks novel ideas and technologies to improve situational awareness and security for protecting these domains, including the 16 critical infrastructure sectors monitored by DHS.
Factom proposes to authenticate devices to prevent spoofing and ensure data integrity by leveraging one of the most secure networks – the blockchain.
The company will create an identity log that captures the identification of a device, who manufactured it, lists of available updates, known security issues and granted authorities while adding the dimension of time for added security.
The aim is to limit would-be hackers’ abilities to corrupt the past records for a device, making it more difficult to spoof, said DHS.
“The start-up community is already developing innovative commercial solutions for IoT, so why not take advantage of that?” said Melissa Ho, Managing Director, S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program.
“DHS is engaging this community to gain access to products that will have a large impact to our enterprise, and we’re excited by the diversity of solutions this solicitation is able to bring to the Department,” she added.