FutureStructure

DHS Throws $200K Toward Internet of Things Security

The notoriously vulnerable and open-ended Internet of Things is at the heart of a nearly quarter-million-dollar Department of Homeland Security award to a California-based company.

by Eyragon Eidam / May 23, 2016

The notoriously vulnerable and open-ended Internet of Things (IoT) is at the heart of a nearly quarter-million-dollar Department of Homeland Security award to a California-based company.

Under the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS), announced earlier in 2016, Half Moon Bay’s Whitescope LLC was tapped on May 23 to create a wireless communications gateway aimed at protecting the Internet of Things.

The OTS program was developed to keep the domestic security organization in step with the technological times through alternative procurement models, which target nontraditional methods to address what they call “emerging threats” faster and more effectively.

Security in the IoT realm has been questioned at all levels of government as of late with more device and networks connected each day with varying levels of security.

In early February, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified in front of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence saying the pervasive technology posed both risks and opportunities in the intelligence space.

“This innovation is central to our economic prosperity, but it will bring new security vulnerabilities,” he said at the time. “The Internet of Things connects tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited."

Whitescope’s so called GatewayX will create an IoT communications portal specific to connected devices, sensors and networks. The gateway will also meet Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 standards.

“The unprecedented number of connected devices is changing the way we live, but unfortunately we cannot assume all IoT devices are inherently secure,” DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Reginald Brothers said in a press release. “DHS is proud to lead this fundamental effort in IoT security.”