Funding scheme aims to address military vulnerability to cyberattack

Written by Sam Trendall on 20 August 2021 in News
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Government-run competition seeks to combat possible exposure caused by legacy systems

Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/J.M. Eddins Jr.

A funding competition is seeking to reduce the exposure to cyberthreats of the military and the wider defence sector – which the government acknowledges us “full of legacy systems vulnerable to cyberattack”.

The initiative is looking for proposals to “intelligently apply technologies that significantly reduce the opportunity for cyberattack”, as well as those which “effectively raise the barrier to entry for adversaries” and ideas that are “novel and applicable across a whole class of attack surface rather than solutions tailored to a specific threat”.

The Ministry of Defence wishes to address and reduce vulnerabilities across “current and future computer networks and systems, focusing particularly on operational technologies”.


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Funding will likely be awarded to proposals that are currently between the fourth and the seventh readiness levels on a nine-point scale defined by the Defence and Security Accelerator – on which the first level is applied to technology only outlined in “basic principles”, and the ninth is that which has been used in “successful mission operations”.

Levels four to seven are defined as technology with, respectively: basic validation in a laboratory environment; basic validation in a relevant environment; a model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment; a prototype demonstration in an operational environment.

“To increase the impact and likelihood of exploitation, the output of these proposals may be shared across UK government as appropriate,” DASA said. “Furthermore, as deemed appropriate, proposal outputs may be shared with partner nation governments including Five Eyes partners nations.”

The accelerator, which is running the contest on behalf of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, plans to support successful proposals with a nine-month contract worth up to £300,000. Interested parties should provide a “roadmap describing how they would achieve a technical demonstrator by end of financial year 2023 if further funding was made available”.

Bids will be open for two cycles, the first of which is open now and closes at midday. The second follows immediately thereafter and will remain open until 5 January.

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology. He can be reached on sam.trendall@dodsgroup.com.

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