The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) recently awarded $199,000 to Austin, Texas-based Factom Inc., a blockchain technology company, to advance the security of digital identity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
The company’s proposal, “Blockchain Software to Prove Integrity of Captured Data From Border Devices” was awarded through Securing the Internet of Things (IoT), Solicitation Number: HSHQDC-16-R-00035 under the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS).
“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.”
IoT is a convergence of mobile devices, information technology networks, connected sensors and devices, according to DHS S&T. The DHS OTS seeks innovative solutions to improve situational awareness and security for protecting these domains, including the 16 critical infrastructure sectors monitored by 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.”
Factom Inc. plans to leverage blockchain technology to authenticate devices to prevent spoofing and ensure data integrity. 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 goal is to limit would-be hackers’ abilities to corrupt the past records for a device, making it more difficult to spoof.