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DHS Silicon Valley Program Funds 5 Internet of Things Security Projects

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The Homeland Security Department’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program, established under Barack Obama, is still connecting with commercial companies under President Donald Trump.

This week, DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate awarded a total of about $1 million to five startups specializing in securing the internet of things, a term for a connected network of devices and sensors.

That’s the mission of the program: to tap into the private-sector tech industry and re-purpose cutting-edge commercial products into solutions for the government. The Pentagon has a similar office in the Silicon Valley area.

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DHS’ awards comprise Phase 2 of its search for technology that can protect the internet of things from outside intruders; the contracts are issued under its Other Transaction Authority, which allows the department to engage with nontraditional contractors and at a pace much quicker than regular contracts.

The winning companies had already submitted proofs of concept during Phase 1 of the program; this next phase requires them to create pilot-ready prototypes.

The businesses include Factom, which uses blockchain to prevent device spoofing; Ionic Security, whose technology intends to help authenticate devices; Machine-to-Machine Intelligence Corp., which is trying to create an open-source cryptographic protocol; Pulzze Systems, which detects when devices connect to or leave a network; and Whitescope, which builds a wireless communication system for devices.

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