San Antonio TX, Sept. 15 2022 – Blocmount has been awarded a U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) for $256,000 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on detecting sophisticated cyber-attacks that aim to take over industrial control systems.
Industrial control systems are widely deployed in critical infrastructure (utilities, manufacturing, and military applications) and recently have been the subject of cyber-attacks from various state-actors and Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups. Protecting such systems directly benefits our society through conserving resources and protecting human life and equipment as well as ensuring the economic competitiveness of the US.
“NSF accelerates the translation of emerging technologies into transformative new products and services,” said Erwin Gianchandani, NSF Assistant Director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships. “We take great pride in funding deep-technology startups and small businesses that will shape science and engineering results into meaningful solutions for today and tomorrow.”
“Blocmount maintains a comprehensive library of detection algorithms and orchestrates them to maximize attack detection rates,” said Mina Guirguis, Founder of Blocmount and Professor of Computer Science at Texas State University. “Our technology is analogous to a composer who uses piano keys to write different pieces of music. So even if the attacker exposes the piano keys, they will not know the piece of music that would be played. This approach stands in sharp contrast to the current common practice to try to hide the piano keys themselves.”
All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program, also known as America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, undergo a rigorous merit-based review process. Once a small business is awarded a Phase I grant, it becomes eligible to apply for Phase II funding and additional supplements totaling up to $1.7 million. To get started, startups or entrepreneurs submit a written Project Pitch to see if their technology idea could be a good fit for the program. To learn more about America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, visit: https://seedfund.nsf.gov/ NSF has several programs that help accelerate the translation of research results to practice and provide pathways for researchers, startups and aspiring entrepreneurs to move their ideas from the laboratory to the market and society. To learn more about how NSF helps unlock future technologies for national and societal impact, visit: https://beta.nsf.gov/tip/latest.
About the U.S. National Science Foundation's Small Business Programs: America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards more than $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $2 million to support research and development, helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.8 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.