DHS S&T awards $199K to Factom Inc. to secure digital identity for IoT

June 26, 2016 - 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) recently awarded $199,000 to Austin, Texas-based blockchain technology firm Factom Inc., to boost the security of digital identity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, according to a report by Homeland Security Today.

Factom’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.”

The DHS OTS is looking for innovative solutions to further enhance situational awareness and security for protecting these domains, including the 16 critical infrastructure sectors monitored by DHS.

“The startup community is already developing innovative commercial solutions for IoT, so why not take advantage of that?” said Melissa Ho, managing director of 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.”

Using blockchain technology, Factom Inc. plans to authenticate devices to prevent spoofing and ensure data integrity.

The firm will generate an identity log that details the identification of a device, the manufacturer’s name, available updates, known security issues and granted authorities, as well as the dimension of time for greater security.

The project’s goal is to limit hackers’ attempts to corrupt the past records for a device, therefore making it harder to spoof.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.