The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) today announced a $2.9 million cybersecurity mobile app security research and development award that will help identify mobile app vulnerabilities. The Northern Virginia-based small business, Kryptowire, was awarded a 30-month contract through the S&T’s Long Range Broad Agency Announcement.
Alejandro Mayorkas, deputy secretary of homeland security, and Sarah R. Saldaña, director, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), on Thursday presided over the unveiling of an expanded ICE Cyber Crimes Center in Fairfax, Virginia.
The center, known as C3, will provide ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with enhanced operational and training capabilities to meet the growing cyber mission of the agency and increasing workload of criminal cases with a cyber nexus.
The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) on June 23 identified CryptoWall as the most current and significant ransomware threat targeting U.S. individuals and businesses. In the 14 months since the malicious software first appeared, the IC3 received 992 CryptoWall-related complaints, with victims reporting losses totaling more than $18 million, according to the FBI warning.
The financial impact to victims goes beyond the ransom fee itself, which is typically between $200 and $10,000. Many victims incur additional costs associated with network mitigation, network countermeasures, loss of productivity, legal fees, IT services and/or the purchase of credit monitoring services for employees or customers.
The Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response (FINDER) device lived up to its name in Nepal, detecting signs of life that led to the rescue of four men trapped under as much as 10 feet of bricks, mud and other debris following the devastating April 25 earthquake in the area.
FINDER, developed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), uses microwave-radar technology to detect heartbeats of victims trapped in wreckage. Jim Lux, JPL’s FINDER task manager, credits luck, but it took quick thinking and rapid coordination to ensure FINDER was in the right place at the right time to be helpful.
Although cybersecurity has been getting a lot of well-deserved attention lately, 90 percent of companies recently surveyed admit that their organizations have invested in a security technology that was ultimately discontinued or scrapped before or soon after deployment. The survey also revealed that the most important metrics are the least reliable. For example, although 70 percent of respondents said return on investment and total cost of ownership are critical metrics for investment and measurement of a technology’s economic benefits, the same number said it is difficult to calculate these metrics.
PositiveID Corporation, Delray Beach, Florida, has announced that it, in conjunction with its partner, ENSCO Inc., has been awarded a SenseNet Program contract from the U.S. Department of the Interior on behalf of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate. The goal of this SenseNet award is to implement faster, less expensive bio-threat detection systems, using existing infrastructure where possible, to provide an added level of security.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is looking to replace its Automated Biometric Identification System, or IDENT, in the next two to four years, an official with the department says. IDENT is DHS's central system for storing and processing biometric and associated biographic information for various homeland security purposes.
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate has transitioned the first technology in its Transition to Practice (TTP) program to commercial market two years ahead of schedule. The effort involves Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Quantum Secured Communication, which was picked up by the company Allied Minds. That private-sector entity exclusively licensed the technology in August 2013 and formed Whitewood Encryption Systems Incorporated to bring it to market. The product is a next-generation encryption system that leverages the quantum properties of light.
Verizon Business Network Services Incorporated, Ashburn, Virginia, was awarded a $10,567,483 firm-fixed-price contract for the priority telecommunication service to support the Department of Homeland Security Office of Emergency Communications. This contract has a nine-month base period and nine one-year option periods. If all options are exercised, the total cumulative contract value is $81,027,515. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DITCO), Scott Air Force Base, Illinois is the contracting activity (HC1013-14-C-0002).
Integrated Microwave Technologies LLC (IMT), Mount Olive, N.J., has been awarded a Technical Investigative Surveillance (TechOps) contract by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. IMT’s contract is a competitive five-year Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity agreement, awarded in the video category, which includes covert video equipment such as transmitters and receivers offering mobile, fixed and multiple concealment technologies. IMT will deliver interoperable technical investigative surveillance solutions in support of federal agency requirements.
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) has awarded 34 contracts to 29 academic and research organizations for research and development of solutions to cyber security challenges. The contracts were awarded by the DHS S&T Cyber Security Division (CSD) under Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) 11-02 which solicited proposals in 14 technical topic areas aimed at improving security in federal networks and across the Internet while developing new and enhanced technologies for detecting, preventing and responding to cyber attacks on the nation’s critical information infrastructure.
American Science and Engineering Incorporated, Ballerica, Mass., recently announced that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) awarded the company an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract with a ceiling value of $245 million for its SmartCheck Personnel Screening System with next generation advanced imaging technology. The IDIQ contract also includes service, maintenance, and training for the SmartCheck systems. As part of this contract, AS&E received its first delivery order for three SmartCheck systems to be tested at TSA facilities.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded Thales Communications Incorporated, of Clarksburg, Maryland, a contract to provide public safety and tactical communications products to DHS under its new Tactical Communications (TacCom) program. Through this multiple-award, indefinite-delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) program, DHS will quickly procure vital tactical radio equipment and other products and services. The agency will use the equipment to support reliable and interoperable public safety communications for its missions to keep the homeland safe, including border protection, customs enforcement, drug interdiction, and emergency response to natural and man-made disasters.
General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems has been awarded a $14 million task order by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to support the National Communications System (NCS). General Dynamics will provide around-the-clock watch operations for critical communications infrastructure through support of the NCS's National Coordinating Center (NCC) for Communications. The company will provide emergency response support and liaison to communications partners to identify the possible impacts of potentially disruptive events and coordinate the restoration and repair of the infrastructure when outages occur.
BioFlow, a handheld biological threat detection system under development at The Mitre Corporation's Bio-Nano Laboratory could one day help emergency response teams identify biological threats on site, saving time, money and possibly lives. Mitre engineers have demonstrated the concept for several government sponsors, including the Defense and Homeland Security departments. BioFlow combines existing technology and sampling techniques to identify a variety of threats, including bacterial agents that cause anthrax, viruses and clinical markers such as thyroid stimulating hormone.
Government may have been in the slow lane to accept social media as a viable conduit for sharing information, but agencies are now coordinating their efforts to ensure messages going out to the public can be trusted. Members of a panel discussing its uses at the AFCEA International Homeland Security Conference said the technologies that facilitate ubiquitous communications among the public are merely another change in generations of changes. The key is that the same principles that govern reliable news reports and privacy and civil liberties protections apply whether the public is depending on newspapers, broadcast, Facebook, Skype or Twitter, they agreed.
Recent legislation is opening the doors for public safety organizations to do more in the wireless broadband realm. Experts in the field discussed the ramifications of H.R. 3630 Title VI, which the president signed into law last month, during the first Thursday panel at the AFCEA International Homeland Security Conference. The benefits include improved collaboration among emergency service organizations and additional dollars that will be spent to improve communication capabilities. The FCC currently is putting together the Public Safety Interoperability Advisory Board.
Paul A. Schneider, former deputy secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), kicked off the AFCEA Homeland Security Conference this morning by stating that not enough revenue has been allocated in the U.S. budget to fight all the cyberthreats, which are some of the most critical dangers facing the nation today. The U.S. currently is as unprepared to protect its cybernetworks as it was to protect New York and Washington, D.C., on 9/11, Schneider said. Shortfalls exist in protecting physical infrastructure such as power and water facilities. "When all is said and done, this is just crime using the Internet," he added.
In a time when government agencies and industry must tighten their belts, it may be a cloak that saves the security day. While discussing best practices in securing the cloud at the AFCEA International Homeland Security Conference, panelist Tim Kelleher, vice president of professional services, BlackRidge Technology, shared details about his company's approach to stopping cybermarauders in their recon tracks. The technique is called cloaking, and Kelleher used caller ID to describe how his company's solution could improve cybersecurity not only in future environments but in current networks as well.
Amazing anecdotes kept the audience entertained during the lunch session at the AFCEA International Homeland Security Conference. The experts spoke about a serious subject: cyberwar. But the stories about their hands-on experiences in learning how to fight cyberwars, how they've fought cyberthreats and what they believe is needed to prepare future cyberwarriors kept conference attendees enthralled. Among the panelists was Maj. T.J. O'Connor, USA, 10th Special Forces Group (A), S-6. While attending the U.S. Military Academy, Maj. O'Connor had some time on his hands that led him to learn how best to defeat cyberattacks.