Odenton-based SecuLore Solutions was awarded a $750,000 federal R&D grant that will allow the company to explore new cybersecurity capabilities for emergency communications systems.
Announced on Friday, the funding was awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, which is seeking to strengthen 911 defenses against cyber attacks. One of a group of cybersecurity firms based in Anne Arundel County, SecuLore Solutions specializes in cybersecurity for public safety agencies.
The company makes a network appliance, called Paladin, that is designed to provide cyber defense for emergency response departments or communications centers. The technology can be used to analyze cyber traffic to identify any unsafe or malicious behavior, CEO Tim Lorello said.
The new research can help take this behavioral analysis to the “new level,” Lorello said. The company plans to explore predictive analytics that focus on the “shape” of traffic, include both what normal traffic and malicious traffic look like, Lorello said. The analytics could be used to detect and address potential threats against emergency community infrastructure such as Next Generation 911, which is bringing mobile communications technology to the system that handles emergency dispatch and response.
As internet-connected 911 grows, so, too, do potential cyber threats. Attacks on emergency communications have hit close to home: The City of Baltimore’s 911 system went down for 17 hours in 2018 as a result of a ransomware attack. Workers switched to manual mode during the outage.
“Our nation’s emergency communications network is at risk to escalating cyber-attacks,” Vincent Sritapan program manager for DHS’ science and technology directorate, said in a statement. “We are undertaking this project to strengthen the cybersecurity firewalls protecting these critical communications networks that quite literally are the lifeline for our citizens who require first-responder assistance during an emergency.”
The R&D award is an example of government funding that could help strengthen a commercial product. If these techniques prove effective, SecuLore plans to add them to its existing Paladin product. The idea is to provide threat analysis of traffic hitting an emergency communications network, and to address it based on what type of attack is found.
In this case, the R&D funding could lead to technology that helps to protect public systems. SecuLore plans to conduct one or more pilots of the technology with public safety agencies. DHS said the program runs complement to its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is working with public agencies around the country.
It also means growth within SecuLore Systems: The company is adding five people through the funding, and now has 27 employees, Lorello said.
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