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US, Israel Initiate Cybersecurity Collaboration Program

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Business Continuity Management / Disaster Recovery
Critical Infrastructure Security

Scheme Aims to Enhance Cyber Resilience of the Two Nations’ Critical Infrastructure(MihirBagwe) o
July 4, 2022 Lead image caption – L-R Jennifer Bachus, U.S. Cyberspace and Digital Policy Bureau; Eric Goldstein, CISA; Gaby Portnoy, INCD; and Chris Inglis, National Cyber Director of the U.S.

The U.S. and Israel have agreed a new joint cybersecurity program called BIRD Cyber to enhance the cyber resilience of both countries’ critical infrastructures. Grants of up to $1.5 million will be given to entities who jointly develop advanced cybersecurity applications under this program.

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The highlight of the program is the $1.5 million maximum conditional grant per project which will be no more than 50% of the joint research and development budget, the BIRD Cyber’s call for proposal states. Only entities from the two countries who jointly develop advanced cybersecurity applications that address “mission-critical cybersecurity needs” will be eligible for this grant.

“BIRD Cyber provides an additional capability for DHS and INCD to expand cooperative research and development and support high-impact cybersecurity solutions for resilient critical infrastructure,” says Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, executive director of the BIRD Foundation. “We are eager to expand upon the success of BIRD Homeland Security with a new cyber-focused program to foster strategic partnerships in the areas of cybersecurity and emerging technologies.”

Robert Silvers the DHS undersecretary for policy also welcomed the initiative and says, “Through the BIRD Cyber program, DHS and INCD will harness the innovation and ingenuity of the Israeli and American technology sectors to drive security and resilience.”

Considerations for Project Proposal

To secure the $1.5 million grant, the first step is to submit a proposal to the BIRD foundation which will be considered by the authorities in relation to very specific guidelines stated in the call for proposal.

Collaboration or cooperation between two companies or between a company and a university or research institute – one from the U.S. and the other from Israel – is a must. Secondly, the piloting of innovative technologies should be focused on one of the following areas, according to the topic explanations cited by BIRD Cyber:

Secured architecture: The solution should provide protection to key operational technology and industrial control systems of major infrastructure utilities such as water, Industry 4.0, transportation, and oil and gas. The solution should emphasize on external connectivity with innovative online artificial intelligence optimization services in the cloud.
Real-time risk assessment for airports or seaports: This solution should provide continuous cyber posture visibility and awareness into the entire small to medium-sized airports and seaports digital infrastructure. The solution must suffice all regulatory compliances and also have a mix of other key cybersecurity touch points such as attack surface management, vulnerability assessment and management, breach and attack simulations, IoT analytics, and threat intelligence, among others.
Resilience centres: These centres should be capable of serving small and medium sized businesses and enterprises and provide them tailored solutions for continuous monitoring, detection, response, risk assessment, cyber insurance, and other professional services in highly cost effective and distributed manner.
Advanced data fusion and analytics: This solution should collect unstructured data from diverse source points such as commercial threat intelligence, deception technologies, DNS data, malware samples, and process these feeds using AI/ML techniques to provide information on advanced persistent threats. A use case for such a technology would be sharing data among two government partners or a government and private sector partner, BIRD Cyber explains.

The executive summaries of project proposals based on any of the above topics of interest need to be submitted to the DHS and/or INCD by November 15. Those who qualify will have to submit the final proposal by January 10, 2023 and the decision of the BIRD in accordance to the guidelines suggested by the DHS and INCD will be disclosed in March 2023.

These joint decisions on strengthening the collective cybersecurity of the two countries were taken recently when top cybersecurity officials from the U.S. and Israel met each other during Israel’s Cyber Week 2022 event held between June 27 and June 30, at Tel Aviv University.

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