Dstl competition seeks to reduce MOD exposure to cyber attacks

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has launched a new Innovation Focus Area (IFA) called Reducing the Cyber Attack Surface, which aims to develop technologies that reduce the opportunity for cyber attacks on Ministry of Defence (MOD) systems and platforms.

The defence sector has a large integrated network of legacy cyber technologies, which presents a substantial and diverse surface area for cyber enabled attack to disrupt military operations.

Being able to accelerate next generation hardware and software technologies to phase out the cyber vulnerabilities within current computer networks is vital in order to reduce defence exposure to cyber attack.

This IFA is being run on behalf of Defence Science and Technology laboratory (DSTL) and seeks proposals that enable greater confidence and a level of assurance in military systems against cyber-enabled attack.

DASA expects to fund proposals within Technical Readiness Level 4 – 7 (TRLs) up to £300K for a 9 month contract. Proposed technologies should demonstrate by providing a roadmap describing how they would achieve a technical demonstrator by end of Financial Year 2023 if further funding was made available.

Cycle 1 of the Reducing the Cyber Attack Surface IFA is open now, and will close on 20 October 2021. Cycle 2 will run from 20 October 2021 to 5 January 2022.

The MOD is interested in identifying and accelerating next generation hardware and software technologies to reduce the vulnerabilities within current and future computer networks and systems, focusing particularly on operational technologies that:

  • intelligently apply technologies that significantly reduce the opportunity for cyber attack
  • effectively raise the barrier to entry for adversaries and providing greater confidence and a level of assurance against cyber-enabled attack
  • are novel and applicable across a whole “class” of attack surface rather than solutions tailored to a specific threat

The Government is seeking proposals that are applicable across a whole “class” of attack. They are not seeking solutions that offer demonstrations of off-the-shelf products requiring no experimental development (unless applied in a novel way to the challenge), and which offer no real prospect of out-competing existing technological solutions.

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