Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) NoVa Node announces winners of Cyber Advanced Translational Research Development Grants

“This grant will be used to demonstrate that data extraction and remote threat analysis can be made practical for the automotive market, impacting the future of security for connected and autonomous vehicles. “

Colin Dunn, PE, Fend Corp.

Taking a great idea from concept through development and commercialization can be a bumpy road for researchers and entrepreneurs alike. The CCI NoVA Node aims to help smooth out the path by providing funds and support through its Cyber Advanced Translational Research Development Grant (CATRDG) competition.

This summer three teams from Virginia were selected through a competitive application process to receive Commonwealth funding from the CCI NoVa Node. Each team focuses on the commercialization of a cybersecurity technology or process and will begin work in August 2020.

“CCI NoVa Node is excited to invest in emerging cyber technologies and accelerate the development of new companies while supporting the engagement of faculty researchers who have significant expertise to contribute to the innovation economy,” says Liza Wilson Durant, associate dean for strategic initiatives and community development for the Volgenau School of Engineering and director for the CCI NoVA Node.

The competition was open to entrepreneurs with emerging technologies and faculty partners from public institutions of higher education within the NoVa Node. Mason’s Office of Technology Transfer, on behalf of CCI NoVA Node, facilitated pairing the teams of faculty researchers and local companies to speed the translation of academic cybersecurity innovations to the marketplace. The winning teams and their projects are as follows:

“Transparent immunization of Microsoft Windows applications” from CyberRock Inc.

CyberRock Inc. is developing and delivering the following cyber defense capabilities: 1) Immunization-based cyber-defense systems to provide true real-time protection of mission-critical systems and networks from previously unknown cyberattacks; 2) Real-time and automated cyberattack attribution capability that can reliably identify and track encrypted and anonymized traffic (e.g., Tor) across the internet.

“Physically-enforced security for vehicle telematics” from Fend Corporation

Fend protects America's critical infrastructure from cyberattacks using physics-based, one-way data flows. Fend's data diode products allow utility operators, building owners, and other managers to gain operational insight into equipment performance, such as control systems, chillers, pumps, and substations, without providing an adversary any physical path to infiltrate these networks.  Paired with the power of predictive analytics in the cloud, Fend enables increased efficiency and resilience.

“Decentralized cryptographic security for everyone” from Hushmesh Inc.

Hushmesh solves digital trust and privacy by wrapping cryptographic identity, authentication, and data security in a user experience that anyone can use called meshing in. Meshing in is a secure and convenient replacement for the outdated login process. It works universally across all use cases, devices, industries, markets, and geographies, both online and in the physical world. It eliminates usernames, passwords, two-factor authentication, account security questions, and password resets. As a result, it also eliminates phishing, social engineering, and identity theft and fraud.

Mason’s Office of Technology Transfer coordinated the process by developing CCI CTARDG Request for Proposals, advertising, soliciting, and evaluating proposals by subject matter experts. 

 “Congratulations to the winning teams. The projects submitted have been adjudged cutting edge and address critical market needs in cybersecurity,” says Hina Mehta, director of Mason’s Office of Technology Transfer. “We hope that funding by CCI NoVA Node will help accelerate the development of cybersecurity products that boost Virginia’s cyber economy.”