DHS Contract Aims To Make Sharing Cyber Threat Data Easier Than Ever

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The contract would add advanced search functions to its IMPACT database.

The Homeland Security Department wants to make it easier for cybersecurity researchers around the world to track down the information they need to solve emerging threats.

The DHS Science and Technology Directorate awarded California-based tech firm Inferlink a $750,000 contract to build advanced search functions into one of the agency’s key cyber research databases. Researchers from government, academia and the private sector use the Information Marketplace for Policy and Analysis of Cyber-risk & Trust portal to share resources and work together to solve the latest online security issues.

“Ensuring researchers have the most relevant information and data will greatly strengthen their ability to pinpoint emerging cybersecurity issues and speed development of new solutions,” said Douglas Maughan, director of S&T’s cybersecurity division, in a statement. “With an enhanced search function, IMPACT will deliver to these researchers more relevant data and timely informational resources they can use to make key decisions in all phases of their research.”

The IMPACT portal serves as a hub for researchers to collaborate on all types of cybersecurity projects and helps lower the administrative, trust and operational costs of storing and sharing information.

The Inferlink project will use natural-language processing and artificial intelligence to give users more flexibility in searching resources on the portal. The technology allows people to pinpoint information without searching exact phrases and help those who don’t have in-depth technical knowledge on a topic find relevant data.

The improvements will also lower the barrier to entry for people getting started in cybersecurity research and development, the agency said.

Inferlink won the award through the Small Business Innovation Research Other Agencies Technology Solutions program, and S&T’s Cyber Security Division will oversee the project. DHS is planning to roll out the new search features by September 2019, S&T Chief of Media Relations John Verrico told Nextgov.

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