Although some wouldn’t agree with the label of cyber terrorists, computer hacking group Anonymous and the release of secret government documents by wiki leaks prove that cybercrime is on the rise and may someday be the weapon of choice among organizations as well as countries who wish to cause harm to the United States. To combat this, the U.S. Federal Government is calling upon small business to invent new ways of safeguarding our country’s computer networks. Small businesses startups around the country are being recruited to solve these complicated but highly important problems.
With the passing of each decade computers are taking over more and more everyday tasks. Although few would argue that this is a negative, it creates new problems. As an increasing amount of everyday yet vitally important tasks become automated, that creates a national security problem. What if a cyberterrorist group gains control of the automated portions of our nation’s power grid causing a nuclear plant to meltdown? Even worse, what if one of our enemies gains control of defense department computers causing a weapon to launch? If that sounds far fetched, simulated attacks have proven that these types of catastrophes are possible.
This is where the nation’s small businesses are needed. Gaining access to a computer through the Internet is a known way of hacking but how do we know that a manufacturer of government computers isn’t placing a chip in the computer to allow access to it? With computers manufactured in countries like South Korea, China, and Taiwan, it’s hard to assure that a rogue chip isn’t being manufactured in to the computer.
The Federal Government is awarding contracts for the IRIS program that currently X-Rays components inside of a computer and compares the X-Ray to its design specifications. These contracts, largely being awarded to small businesses, take the program a step further. Instead of X-Raying the computer, the government is developing a technology that can reverse engineer a chip inside of the computer to understand what it does. If it is a Trojan horse, a program that allows a remote computer to gain access to it, that system can immediately be placed out of service.
If you own a small business and are unaware of the many government contracts available for bid, go to the fedbizopps.gov. On this site there are numerous contracts similar to the program above that may fit your business. You will have to go through a registration process but once that is complete, you are free to bid on as many contracts as you would like.