TEL AVIV, Israel, Aug. 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- While the cybersecurity industry experienced record-breaking investments and continuous growth in recent years, most cyber companies have focused on developing solutions for banking and insurance companies, defense, eCommerce, and other verticals with generous budgets. Yet, cybersecurity requirements on the national level are growing at a rate faster than industry can support. Many companies, utilities, and small and medium-size ports and airports, have a constant need to adopt such enhanced cybersecurity solutions, though they must keep pace with the increasing number and complexity of requirements.
To address these challenges, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD), and the Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation, established the BIRD Cyber Program, a joint initiative to enhance the cyber resilience of vulnerable critical infrastructure in both the United States and Israel. The program is managed by the BIRD Foundation.
The BIRD Foundation's Board of Governors recently approved funding for four joint cybersecurity projects submitted by U.S. and Israeli companies in response to the first BIRD Cyber solicitation. The projects were jointly selected through a rigorous review and award process by DHS S&T, INCD, and the Board of Governors of the BIRD Foundation. In addition to the BIRD grants, the projects will leverage private-sector funding, boosting the total value of the projects to approximately $10 million.
The projects approved for funding are:
- Rescana (Tel-Aviv, Israel) and Trend Micro (Irving, Texas) to develop an operational cyber threat intelligence capability to inform cyber risk maritime decision-making.
- Salvador Technologies (Rehovot, Israel) and Bastazo (Fayetteville, Arkansas) to develop a solution for Industrial Control Systems (ICS) vulnerability management, monitoring, and rapid recovery from cyber-attacks.
- Cyber 2.0 (Rishon Letzion, Israel) and Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport (Hebron, KY) to develop a platform for airports and air traffic that will provide continuous cyber visibility, real-time monitoring, and data traffic detection to minimize risks and boost compliance with regulations.
- A project of developing an airport cyber protection solution across the entire attack surface.
The BIRD Foundation promotes collaboration between U.S. and Israeli companies in various technological fields for joint product development. In addition to providing conditional grants for approved projects, the Foundation assists by working with companies to identify potential strategic partners and facilitate introductions.
"The first year of the BIRD Cyber program has yielded projects that will deliver cutting-edge solutions to pressing cybersecurity challenges facing the U.S. and Israel," said Ms. Megan Mahle, Director of the DHS S&T Office of Industry Partnerships. "We are pleased to jointly invest with our Israeli partners in these innovative projects and anticipate that they will deliver new capabilities to enhance the cybersecurity posture and overall resilience of vital critical sectors in both nations."
"INCD and DHS are strategic partners, working together to overcome cyber threats and keep strengthening national cyber resilience," said Mr. Aviram Atzaba, Executive Director for International Cooperation of INCD. "We are proud to partner with DHS to develop cutting-edge solutions for small and medium-sized businesses and critical infrastructure cybersecurity. This year's joint projects address key challenges in ICS, maritime and airport sectors. The BIRD mechanism continues to strengthen the strategic alliance between Israel and the United States."
Mr. Jaron Lotan, Executive Director of the BIRD Foundation, said, "We are proud to announce the first grants for this important program. The selected projects are a result of a comprehensive selection process to answer the cybersecurity needs of both countries. The BIRD Cyber program advances the U.S.-Israeli partnership through cyber innovation and collaboration, to build a more secure and resilient infrastructure. We welcome the opportunity to cooperate with DHS and INCD, and to support the development of innovative technologies that enhance safety for both countries and look forward to supporting this sector for many years to come."
About the BIRD Foundation:
The BIRD (Binational Industrial Research and Development) Foundation encourages and facilitates cooperation between U.S. and Israeli companies in a wide range of technology sectors and offers funding for selected projects. The BIRD Foundation supports projects without receiving any equity or intellectual property rights in participating companies or their projects. BIRD funding is repaid as royalties from sales of products that were commercialized as a result of BIRD support. The Foundation provides funding of up to 50% of a project's budget, beginning with R&D and ending with the initial stages of sales and marketing. The Foundation shares the risk and does not require repayment if the project fails to reach the sales stage.