US, Israel team to boost critical infrastructure cybersecurity


Government bodies from Israel and the US are spearheading a notable $4m investment in the cybersecurity sector.

The Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD), a prominent cybersecurity agency in Israel, is joining forces with the Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation, a key player in binational research funding. Their American counterpart in this venture is the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), responsible for scientific research and innovation.

A mutual concern for critical infrastructure security has prompted these entities to pool $3.85m, targeting security enhancements for shared infrastructure assets in both countries.

The BIRD Cyber Program will be the primary channel for this investment. Under its umbrella, four grants are designated for security projects. These projects will cover pivotal sectors such as maritime, airport and air traffic, and industrial control systems (ICS).

For instance, Rescana and Trend Micro are aiming to bolster the maritime sector with advanced threat intelligence capabilities. Meanwhile, Salvador Technologies and Bastazo have their sights on refining ICS vulnerability management, surveillance, and recovery processes. Cyber 2.0, in collaboration with Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport, has a vision to enhance cyber visibility, monitoring, and detect data traffic anomalies. Additionally, a comprehensive cyber protection solution for airports forms the cornerstone of the fourth project.

The projects, which are the result of responses to the inaugural BIRD Cyber solicitation, have successfully navigated a rigorous screening process overseen by DHS S&T, INCD, and the BIRD Foundation. They aren’t solely funded by the aforementioned $3.85m; private sector investments will bolster the total value of these initiatives to roughly $10m.

The BIRD Foundation extends beyond merely awarding grants. Its core ethos involves fostering collaboration between Israeli and US companies. In practice, this means not only funding approved projects but also linking organisations with prospective strategic partners.

The funding model they adopt is compelling; approved projects can receive up to 50% funding. This is then recouped via royalties from product sales that emerge from BIRD’s support. Interestingly, if a project stalls and doesn’t transition to the sales phase, no repayment is expected.

DHS S&T director Megan Mahle said, “The first year of the BIRD Cyber program has yielded projects that will deliver cutting-edge solutions to pressing cybersecurity challenges facing the U.S. and Israel.”

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