Protecting The Protectors

protect the protectors

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First responders are constantly looking to improve, sharpen their senses and abilities and put their hands on the most innovative and useful equipment. Now, Metronome Software is developing a technology solution that will protect the protectors and significantly enhance the security of mobile device-based sensor systems used by first responders with funding provided by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T).

According to the DHS’s site, the almost 750K$ Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Other Agencies Technology Solutions award is a joint project of DHS S&T’s Mobile Security R&D program, administered by its Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency Cyber Security Division, and the Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Apex program, managed by S&T’s First Responder Group.

“Strengthening security for first responder sensor networks is critical in order to protect data flows from attack by cyber criminals,” said Acting Under Secretary for Science and Technology William N. Bryan. “The security enhancements developed through this project will be designed to ensure the system can be accessed and used only by approved devices and operators.”

The program is integrating multi-threat personal protective equipment, sensors and advanced communications devices to provide multi-layer threat protection and immediate situational awareness to first responders. It seeks to help first responders be more protected, connected and fully aware. The NGFR framework contains the architecture, standards and hardware to find, access, consume, translate and display voice, video and data for first responders.

Under this project, Metronome will develop a security overlay that will ensure the NGFR framework and its end-to-end infrastructure – including back-end servers, intermediate data centers and their proxies, and individual first responder mobile devices – have a high level of security and data provenance. Metronome will enhance its eCLOAK technology, initially developed through an Air Force Research Laboratory SBIR Phase II award, to create the SENsor Secure Enterprise Infrastructure (SENSEI) system. Integrating SENSEI into the NGFR framework will enhance the system’s security and add proven enterprise-level management capabilities.

“First responders require secure access to critical, time-sensitive information. This information architecture that first responders rely upon, can be enhanced through the integration of a security layer with the NGFR framework,” said NGFR Apex Program Manager John Merrill.

“Because there’s minimal security built into Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors and few security applications for them, they are susceptible to cyber attacks,” said S&T Mobile Security Program Manager Vincent Sritapan. “This project will add a security overlay for first responder IoT sensors and all other government IoT devices.”