As the Trump administration gets more aggressive in identifying the perpetrators of cyberattacks, the Department of Homeland Security awarded grants worth $11.5 million to five research organizations to develop new ways of attributing events that disrupt internet access.
In a Sept. 14 announcement, the agency said new research will investigate how to attribute any event that interrupts access to the internet, from cyberattacks to telephone jamming to natural disasters.
“There is a lack of any rigorous understanding of internet outages or sufficient tools for their systemic and timely identification,” Homeland Security leaders said in their release.
“Once launched, these solutions will help tilt the playing field in the favor of network defenders,” said Ann Cox, program manager for the Homeland Security Science and Technology directorate.
The grant comes just two days after President Donald Trump signed an order promising to punish any actor who tries to interfere in the U.S. elections, which requires greater attribution in cyberspace. Starting in the late years of the Obama administration, the U.S. increased efforts to attribute cyberattacks. The effort has increased during the Trump administration.
The largest grant, of $3.2 million, went to Two Six Labs, based in Arlington Virginia, to study a framework that can detect internet altering events that interrupt financial systems and transportation infrastructure.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego received a $3 million to study a real-time application that would monitor internet access outages.
Justin Lynch is the Associate Editor at Fifth Domain. He has written for the New Yorker, the Associated Press, Foreign Policy, the Atlantic, and others. Follow him on Twitter @just1nlynch.