Red Balloon Security Supports Increased Security for High-risk U.S. Research Facilities

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Red Balloon Security, a world leader in embedded device security, is under contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) to develop new cybersecurity technology that can increase the security of complex building controllers and automation systems against cyberattacks.

Red Balloon Security, a world leader in embedded device security, is under contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) to develop new cybersecurity technology that can increase the security of complex building controllers and automation systems against cyberattacks.

Cyber sabotage attacks are a growing risk to facilities which utilize embedded devices to automate key functions such as climate control, security and, in the case of U.S. research facilities, biocontainment and decontamination processes.

In collaboration with the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC), a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) facility owned and operated by the DHS S&T Office of National Laboratories, Red Balloon Security’s 12-month pilot study specifically examines and addresses the types of cyber risks which could impact the safety and security of building control systems. “Unfortunately, building systems are not usually designed with cybersecurity in mind, so installing a robust host-based defense within these embedded devices is critical to ensuring the integrity of their operations. Our research on behalf of DHS has been able to provide an additional tool to address this problem.” said Ang Cui, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Red Balloon Security.

An additional key component to the relationship between DHS and Red Balloon is highlighted by PIADC’s unique internal infrastructure which provides an environment conducive for testing and developing new technologies. As a result of this research and the generous support of DHS, Red Balloon Security has developed a new implementation of their special firmware defense technology, called “Symbiote Embedded Defense,” which can block any attempt by a hacker or other rogue actor to attack building systems with malware, ransomware or other malicious code or commands. The Symbiote technology is injected into the firmware of the embedded device where it provides robust intrusion defense by constantly checking the integrity of static code and data at the firmware level, thereby blocking any unauthorized code or commands from executing. Red Balloon Security is also transitioning this same technology to the commercial market, where it can be used to protect any facility that relies upon embedded devices, whether it is a building automation system in a hotel or office building, or industrial control system in a manufacturing plant, electric utility, water treatment plant, etc.  

About Red Balloon Security

Red Balloon Security (http://www.redballoonsecurity.com) is a leading security provider for embedded devices across all industries. Founded in 2011 by Dr. Ang Cui, the company’s core technology, The Symbiote Defense, was originally developed through Columbia University’s Intrusion Detection Systems Lab. After a decade of testing, billions of hours of error-free runtime and deployments in the US military, homeland security, critical infrastructure and consumer products, Symbiote Defense is the world’s most advanced and proven firmware defense system for embedded devices. Red Balloon Security’s pioneering industry research is led by a team of world-class academics, researchers and developers who have published seminal research papers in the fields of embedded security and intrusion detection, led US Department of Defense funded research activities, ethically disclosed vulnerabilities within hundreds of millions of ubiquitous embedded devices and worked as embedded security researchers within various intelligence agencies.

About Plum Island Animal Disease Center

Since 1954, PIADC has served as the nation’s premier defense against accidental or intentional introduction of transboundary animal diseases (a.k.a. foreign animal diseases) including foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). PIADC is the only laboratory in the nation that can work on live FMD virus (FMDV). The lab and its staff of nearly 400 employees from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Agriculture provide a host of high-impact, indispensable preparedness and response capabilities, including vaccine R&D, diagnostics, training, and bioforensics among others. Website: https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/plum-island-animal-disease-center
About the DHS Science and Technology Directorate

Established by Congress in 2003, S&T’s mission is to deliver effective and innovative insight, methods and solutions for the critical needs of the Homeland Security Enterprise. As DHS’s primary research and development (R&D) arm, S&T manages science and technology research, from development through transition, for the department's operational components and the nation’s first responders. S&T’s engineers, scientists and researchers work closely with industry and academic partners to ensure R&D investments address the high-priority needs of today and the growing demands of the future. From border security and biological defense to cybersecurity and explosives detection, S&T is at the forefront of integrating R&D across the public and private sectors and the international community. By working directly with responders and component partners across the nation, S&T strives to provide advanced capabilities and analytics to better prevent, respond to and recover from all hazards and homeland security threats.

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Chris Bodine