MoD launches callout for tech to plug cyber security holes

The £300,000 call for submissions aims to address a landscape that’s “full of legacy systems vulnerable to cyber attack”

The government has invited businesses to apply for a grant that will allow them to build technologies that reduce the growing attack surface of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the wider defence sector.

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) programme has launched a scheme, dubbed Reducing the Cyber Attack Surface, that aims to fund the development of tech that reduces the prospect of cyber attacks

This comes as the government has described the defence sector as “full of legacy systems vulnerable to cyber attacks”.

The programme, in that spirit, aims to reduce the vulnerabilities within current and future computer networks and systems, with a particular focus on operational technologies.

“The Defence Enterprise is an expansive, diverse and continually changing construct with a large integrated network of cyber technologies, many of which are legacy,” the MoD said in its open call. “This presents a large and diverse surface for cyber-enabled attack.

“The Defence Science and Technical Laboratory (DSTL) on behalf of the MOD is interested in identifying and accelerating next generation hardware and software technologies to ‘design-out’ the vulnerabilities prevalent within current and future computer networks and systems (with a particular focus on Operational Technologies), thereby dramatically reducing Defence exposure to Cyber effects.”

Related Resource

Preparing for AI-enabled cyber attacks

MIT technology review insights

AI icon against a laptop icon on a yellow background - whitepaper from DarktraceDownload now

Businesses can submit proposals for a nine-month contract worth up to £300,000, with prospective technologies coming alongside a roadmap describing how they would achieve technical proficiency by the end of the 2023 financial year.

There will be four cycles during which businesses can apply, including a first expiring on 20 October, and a second that will run from 20 October to 5 January. The third and fourth cycles haven’t yet been given dates.

The MoD is looking for systems that intelligently apply technologies that significantly reduce the opportunity for cyber attacks, while raising the barrier to entry for hackers. These systems should also be applicable across various types of attack and not just tailored to a specific threat.

The department isn’t seeking ideas that offer demonstrations of off-the-shelf products requiring no experimental development, offer no real prospect of integration into defence and security capabilities, and offer no prospect of out-competing existing systems.

In calling for submissions, the government has acknowledged how unreliable the systems and technologies that comprise the UK’s defence network are.

For example, the National Audit Office (NAO) previously blasted the MoD and Capita for botching a digital transformation project that would improve army recruitment.

The callout also follows the launch of the MoD’s bug bounty programme in December 2020, in which white hat hackers can disclose flaws to the department without fear of prosecution.

Featured Resources

The definitive guide to warehouse efficiency

Get your free guide to creating efficiencies in the warehouse

Free download

The total economic impact™ of Datto

Cost savings and business benefits of using Datto Integrated Solutions

Download now

Three-step guide to modern customer experience

Support the critical role CX plays in your business

Free download

Ransomware report

The global state of the channel

Download now

Recommended

Senate report slams agencies for poor cyber security
cyber security

Senate report slams agencies for poor cyber security

3 Aug 2021
Most employees put their workplace at risk by taking cyber security shortcuts
cyber security

Most employees put their workplace at risk by taking cyber security shortcuts

27 Jul 2021
61% of organizations say improving security a top priority for 2021
cyber security

61% of organizations say improving security a top priority for 2021

29 Jun 2021
ProtectedBy.AI’s CodeLock blocks malware at source code level
software as a service (SaaS)

ProtectedBy.AI’s CodeLock blocks malware at source code level

9 Jun 2021

Most Popular

How to find RAM speed, size and type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

17 Sep 2021
What are the pros and cons of AI?
machine learning

What are the pros and cons of AI?

8 Sep 2021
The technology powering the future of shopping
Technology

The technology powering the future of shopping

16 Sep 2021