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The grants are focused on the effect outages could have on critical infrastructure.
The Homeland Security Department’s Science and Technology Directorate awarded $11.6 million in grants last week to organizations focused on protecting against massive disruptions to internet connectivity that could knock critical infrastructure such as hospitals and energy plants offline.
In addition to improving public understanding of “network/internet-scale disruptive events,” or NIDEs, the research will have direct implications for the Federal Communications Commission and the emergency communications wing of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity and infrastructure security division, the department said in a statement.
“Despite the impact of NIDEs there is a lack of any rigorous understanding of internet outages or sufficient tools for their systemic and timely identification,” the division said in a statement.
The grants include $3 million to the University of California, San Diego’s Center for Applied Internet Data Analysis focused on real-time detection of internet connectivity disruptions and about $1.9 million to the San Antonio company SecureLogix focused on making 911 systems and other public safety communications more secure against internet outages.
The grants are part of the science and technology divisions newly-established Predict, Assess Risk, Identify (and Mitigate) Disruptive Internet-Scale Network Events, or PARADINE, program.
Joseph Marks is a senior correspondent at Nextgov, where this article was originally published.