Vencore Labs to assist DARPA in protecting The nation’s electrical grid

vencore-112Vencore Labs Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Chantilly, VA-based Vencore Inc., announced on September 13 that it has been awarded two prime contracts for the Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation and Characterization Systems (RADICS) program led by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The contracts have a total value of $17M and work is slated to begin in August of this year.

The objective of the RADICS program is to develop technologies for detecting and responding to cyberattacks on critical U.S. infrastructure, with an ultimate goal of enabling cyber and power engineers to restore electrical service within seven days in the event of a major attack. Vencore Labs, a leader in smart grid security and monitoring, will conduct research and deliver technologies in three of five technical areas (TA).

This new work draws on Vencore Labs’ expertise transitioning cybersecurity research technology to commercial use, as well as the company’s experience working with utilities to secure their networks through its first-of-its kind infrastructure monitoring solution, SecureSmart™.

“Vencore Labs is honored to be included as part of the RADICS program,” said Petros Mouchtaris, PhD, president of Vencore Labs. “As experts in cybersecurity monitoring and assessment services, we are excited to bring our unique experience and methodologies working with utility customers to this critical DARPA program.”

Under TA-1, Vencore Labs intends to research, develop, demonstrate and deliver a system known as MANTESSA (Machine-Intelligence for Advance Notification of Threats and Energy-Grid Survivable Situational Awareness). The MANTESSA system aims to address the problem of early detection of cyber-attacks on the North American power grid. Specifically, MANTESSA intends to provide early warnings, spoofing detection and situational awareness, by means of continuously executing anomaly detection algorithms.

Under TA-3, Vencore Labs plans to research, develop, demonstrate and deliver a Scalable and Holistic Energy CybeR-weapon Localization and Characterization (SHERLOC) system which is intended to rapidly localize and characterize cyber-weapons that have gained access to power grid infrastructure. The SHERLOC system aims to map Industrial Control Systems (ICS), gather and analyze configuration data, determine which devices are behaving incorrectly, and discover and characterize malware to help with restart operations.

Additionally, the Vencore Labs team will serve as a sub-contractor under TA-2.

Source: Vencore, Inc.