Critical Infrastructure Security

U.S., Israel Establish Joint Cybersecurity Fund to Address Vulnerable Critical Infrastructure

The U.S.-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation has pledged to invest some $3.85 million in critical infrastructures cybersecurity projects in the two countries.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD), and the BIRD Foundation, have established the BIRD Cyber Program, a joint initiative to enhance the cyber resilience of vulnerable critical infrastructure in both the U.S. and Israel. The inaugural program is managed by the BIRD Foundation.

A $10 Million Cybersecurity Investment

In addition to the BIRD grants, the projects will also include private-sector funding, boosting the total investment value of the projects to approximately $10 million. The awarded projects address a pressing need to enhance the cyber resilience of critical infrastructure in the U.S. and Israel, officials said. The program is managed by the BIRD Foundation.

Projects approved for funding are:

  • Rescana (Tel-Aviv, Israel) and Trend Micro (Irving, Texas) are developing an operational cyber threat intelligence capability to inform cyber risk maritime decision-making.
  • Salvador Technologies (Rehovot, Israel) and Bastazo (Fayetteville, Arkansas) are developing 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) are developing 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.

This is how the BIRD investment operates, according to the Foundation:

  • BIRD 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 research and development 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.

Final Thoughts

Megan Mahle, director of the DHS S&T Office of Industry Partnerships, described how the first year of the BIRD Cyber program has been a success:

"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. 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."

Said Aviram Atzaba, executive director for International Cooperation of INCD, added:

"INCD and DHS are strategic partners, working together to overcome cyber threats and keep strengthening national cyber resilience. 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.”

D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.