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Homeland Security Funds Initiative to Enhance IoT Security

As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes more entrenched in society, security concerns increase exponentially. The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is one institution trying to encourage the emergence of IoT security before it becomes too complex to handle.

IoT encompasses all hardware interconnected via the Internet, whether it’s a computer, a fridge, or a cell phone. With so many moving parts, security becomes a significant concern. Patching a computer or a router is straightforward, but what happens when it’s a smart light bulb?

If not suitably shielded, IoT devices can be easily compromised and used to spread malware, spy on people, and transform into pawns to orchestrate attacks against other targets. Intercepting security threats at the source is one way to solve this ever-growing problem.

Bastille Networks of Atlanta, a company focusing on identifying and localizing radio threats (RF emissions), received a $199,680 grant from The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T). The award is part of a bigger initiative, S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program’s (SVIP’s) “Security for the Internet of Things” solicitation.

“While the interconnection of IoT devices brings many benefits, security concerns continue to rise. We are excited to see the final development of Bastille’s technology to provide security by monitoring the RF and cellular spectrum and identifying potential IoT-related threats,” explained Anil John, technical director at SVIP.

The technology from Bastille Networks of Atlanta will be deployed initially at a DHS candidate site. In theory, intercepting any malicious signals offers system administrators real-time awareness of suspicious events. If successful, the technology might be used in commercial settings as well.