|WASHINGTON –The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program released six additional topics for the new SBIR 24.1 Pre-solicitation, providing small businesses a chance to review the topics and ask clarifying technical questions about topic requirements over a select period of time. SBIR provides funding and support to small businesses to develop innovative technologies and solutions that address homeland security challenges.|
“The SBIR program is one of the best ways for small businesses to partner with DHS to explore innovative concepts with non-dilutive funding,” said DHS SBIR Director Dusty Lang. “Small businesses are a crucial part of the DHS mission, and this program enables the Department to interact with these entities and create an environment of innovation toward economic growth that benefits the country.”
The topics are listed below. For more information, including full descriptions, please visit SAM.gov. Technical questions should be emailed to the specific addresses listed in the 24.1 SBIR Topic Areas (Appendix A) for each topic. Small businesses have until 5:00 PM ET on December 14, 2023, to submit questions.
The DHS topics in the 24.1 SBIR Pre-Solicitation are:
The DHS SBIR program is also launching its Phase 0 program, designed to increase outreach to small businesses that have never applied before.
“The Phase 0 program is designed to reach new potential offerors, help them understand the process, and provide fresh perspectives for DHS to partner on novel solutions for our mission needs,” said Lang.
For more information on the Phase 0 Program, visit https://www.dhs.gov/science-and-technology/sbir.
About DHS S&T
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) mission is to enable effective, efficient, and secure operations across all homeland security missions by applying scientific, engineering, analytic, and innovative approaches to deliver timely solutions and support departmental acquisitions. Created by Congress in 2003, S&T conducts basic and applied research, development, demonstration, testing and evaluation activities relevant to support Homeland Security and first responder operations and protect critical infrastructure. For more information about S&T, visit scitech.dhs.gov.
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Today, the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) released a joint guide, Phishing Guidance: Stopping the Attack Cycle at Phase One. The joint guide outlines phishing techniques malicious actors commonly use and provides guidance for both network defenders and software manufacturers to reduce the impact of phishing techniques used in obtaining credentials and deploying malware.
|DHS Announces Additional $374.9 Million in Funding to Boost State, Local Cybersecurity|
First-of-Its-Kind Cybersecurity Grant Program Enters the Second Year
WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Homeland Security announced the availability of $374.9 million in grant funding for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program (SLCGP). State and local governments face increasingly sophisticated cyber threats to their critical infrastructure and public safety. Now in its second year, the SLCGP is a first-of-its-kind cybersecurity grant program specifically for state, local, and territorial (SLT) governments across the country to help them strengthen their cyber resilience. Established by the State and Local Cybersecurity Improvement Act, and part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the SLCGP provides $1 billion in funding over four years to support SLT governments as they develop capabilities to detect, protect against, and respond to cyber threats. This year’s funding allotment represents a significant increase from the $185 million allotted in FY22, demonstrating the Administration and Congress’s commitment to help improve the cybersecurity of communities across the nation.
“In today’s threat environment, any locality is vulnerable to a devastating cyber attack targeted at a hospital, school, water, or other system,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “The Department of Homeland Security is helping to ensure that every community, regardless of size, funding, or resources, can meet these threats and keep their residents and their critical infrastructure safe and secure. These cybersecurity grants will help state, local, and territorial governments do just that, and I strongly urge communities across the country to submit an application.”
SLCGP is jointly administered by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). CISA provides expertise and guidance on cybersecurity issues while FEMA manages the grant award and allocation process. Award recipients may use funding for a wide range of cybersecurity improvements and capabilities, including cybersecurity planning and exercising, hiring cyber personnel, and improving the services that citizens rely on daily.
“State and local governments are facing increasingly sophisticated cyber threats to their critical infrastructure and public safety,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly. “As the Nation’s Cyber Defense Agency, CISA is pleased to make available yet another tool that will help strengthen cyber defenses for communities across the nation and bolster our collective cybersecurity.”
“Building resilience requires more than mitigating against natural hazards,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “As our threat landscape continues to evolve, the funding provided through the state, local, and territorial cybersecurity grant program will increase capability to help communities better prepare and reduce cyber risks.”
State and local governments have until October 6 to apply for this FY23 grant opportunity. For more information and helpful resources on the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program, visit CISA’s webpage: cisa.gov/cybergrants.
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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Office of Public Affairs
|WASHINGTON – Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas issued a National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin regarding the continued heightened threat environment across the United States. This is the seventh NTAS Bulletin issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since January 2021 and it replaces the current Bulletin that was set to expire at 2:00 PM ET today.|
“Our homeland continues to face a heightened threat environment —as we have seen, tragically, in recent acts of targeted violence— and is driven by violent extremists seeking to further a political or social goal or act on a grievance,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “To keep Americans safe, DHS is committed to working with partners across every level of government, in the private sector, and in local communities by sharing information, equipping communities with training and resources, and providing millions of dollars in grant funding for security enhancement and prevention.”
Lone offenders and small groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances continue to pose a persistent and lethal threat to the homeland. In the coming months, DHS expects the threat environment to remain heightened and threat actors could exploit several upcoming events to justify or commit acts of violence. These targets could include public gatherings, faith-based institutions, the LGBTQI+ community, schools, racial and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, U.S. critical infrastructure, the media, and perceived ideological opponents.
Several recent attacks, plots, and threats of violence demonstrate the continued dynamic and complex nature of the threat environment in the United States. Domestic actors and foreign terrorist organizations —who remain intent on attacking America— continue to maintain a visible presence online in attempts to motivate supporters to conduct attacks in the homeland. Threat actors have recently mobilized to violence, citing factors such as reactions to current events and adherence to violent extremist ideologies, and some domestic violent extremists who have conducted attacks have cited previous attacks and attackers as inspiration.
While violence surrounding the November midterm elections was isolated, we remain vigilant that heightened political tensions in the country could contribute to individuals mobilizing to violence based on personalized grievances. Perceptions of government overreach continue to drive individuals to attempt to commit violence targeting government officials and law enforcement officers. Some domestic violent extremists have expressed grievances based on perceptions that the government is overstepping its Constitutional authorities or failing to perform its duties.
DHS works with partners across every level of government, in the private sector, and in local communities to keep Americans safe, providing resources and support, including the following:
This NTAS Bulletin will expire on May 24, 2023. This NTAS Bulletin provides the public with information about the threat landscape facing the United States, how to stay safe, and resources and tools to help prevent an individual’s radicalization to violence. The public should report any suspicious activity or threats of violence to local law enforcement, FBI Field Offices, or a local Fusion Center.
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The Administration has prioritized strengthening cybersecurity defenses to prepare our Nation for threats since day one. President Biden’s Executive Order is modernizing the Federal Government defenses and improving the security of widely-used technology. The President has launched public-private action plans to shore up the cybersecurity of the electricity, pipeline, and water sectors and has directed Departments and Agencies to use all existing government authorities to mandate new cybersecurity and network defense measures. Internationally, the Administration brought together more than 30 allies and partners to cooperate to detect and disrupt ransomware threats, rallied G7 countries to hold accountable nations who harbor ransomware criminals, and took steps with partners and allies to publicly attribute malicious activity.
We accelerated our work in November of last year as Russian President Vladimir Putin escalated his aggression ahead of his further invasion of Ukraine with extensive briefings and advisories to U.S. businesses regarding potential threats and cybersecurity protections. The U.S. Government will continue our efforts to provide resources and tools to the private sector, including via CISA’s Shields-Up campaign and we will do everything in our power to defend the Nation and respond to cyberattacks. But the reality is that much of the Nation’s critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector, and the private sector must act to protect the critical services on which all Americans rely.
We urge companies to execute the following steps with urgency:
- Mandate the use of multifactor authentication on your systems to make it harder for attackers to get onto your system;
- Deploy modern security tools on your computers and devices to continuously look for and mitigate threats;
- Check with your cybersecurity professionals to make sure that your systems are patched and protected against all known vulnerabilities, and change passwords across your networks so that previously stolen credentials are useless to malicious actors;
- Back up your data and ensure you have offline backups beyond the reach of malicious actors;
- Run exercises and drill your emergency plans so that you are prepared to respond quickly to minimize the impact of any attack;
- Encrypt your data so it cannot be used if it is stolen;
- Educate your employees to common tactics that attackers will use over email or through websites, and encourage them to report if their computers or phones have shown unusual behavior, such as unusual crashes or operating very slowly; and
- Engage proactively with your local FBI field office or CISA Regional Office to establish relationships in advance of any cyber incidents. Please encourage your IT and Security leadership to visit the websites of CISA and the FBI where they will find technical information and other useful resources.
We also must focus on bolstering America’s cybersecurity over the long term. We encourage technology and software companies to:
- Build security into your products from the ground up — “bake it in, don’t bolt it on” — to protect both your intellectual property and your customers’ privacy.
- Develop software only on a system that is highly secure and accessible only to those actually working on a particular project. This will make it much harder for an intruder to jump from system to system and compromise a product or steal your intellectual property.
- Use modern tools to check for known and potential vulnerabilities. Developers can fix most software vulnerabilities — if they know about them. There are automated tools that can review code and find most coding errors before software ships, and before a malicious actor takes advantage of them.
- Software developers are responsible for all code used in their products, including open source code. Most software is built using many different components and libraries, much of which is open source. Make sure developers know the provenance (i.e., origin) of components they are using and have a “software bill of materials” in case one of those components is later found to have a vulnerability so you can rapidly correct it.
- Implement the security practices mandated in the President’s Executive Order, Improving our Nation’s Cybersecurity. Pursuant to that EO, all software the U.S. government purchases is now required to meet security standards in how it is built and deployed. We encourage you to follow those practices more broadly.
Cybersecurity for Small-Medium Business
Please join us for an informational webinar focused on Business Cybersecurity with Jeffery McKee, Protective Security Advisor and Cybersecurity Expert. This presentation will explore the cyber essentials imperative for small business owners to plan for security, emergency response, and how to report a suspected cyber-attack. It will also have a question and answer session, so bring your questions! Topics: o What is the risk to businesses and how resilient are businesses? o How can small business owners start implementing cybersecurity practices? o What CISA resources are available to businesses?
Speaker: Jeffery McKee, Protective Security Advisor Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency US Department of Homeland Security Mr. McKee serves as the Protective Security Advisor (PSA) Baton Rouge District, which encompasses the central, southwest, and northern parishes of Louisiana. Mr. McKee supports homeland security efforts, serving in an advising and reach-back capacity to state Homeland Security Advisors. He contributes to the development of the national risk picture by assisting with the identification, assessment, monitoring, and minimizing risk to critical assets at the local level. Co-sponsors: • Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center • Lafayette Consolidated Government • Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (LA PTAC) • UL Lafayette Information Technology • InfraGard Louisiana
Fee: No Cost
July 20, 2021
Transportation Security Administration issues second Security Directive
WASHINGTON – Today, in response to the ongoing cybersecurity threat to pipeline systems, DHS’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced the issuance of a second Security Directive that requires owners and operators of TSA-designated critical pipelines that transport hazardous liquids and natural gas to implement a number of urgently needed protections against cyber intrusions.
“The lives and livelihoods of the American people depend on our collective ability to protect our Nation’s critical infrastructure from evolving threats,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Through this Security Directive, DHS can better ensure the pipeline sector takes the steps necessary to safeguard their operations from rising cyber threats, and better protect our national and economic security. Public-private partnerships are critical to the security of every community across our country and DHS will continue working closely with our private sector partners to support their operations and increase their cybersecurity resilience.”
The Department’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) advised TSA on cybersecurity threats to the pipeline industry, as well as technical countermeasures to prevent those threats, during the development of this second Security Directive. This Security Directive requires owners and operators of TSA-designated critical pipelines to implement specific mitigation measures to protect against ransomware attacks and other known threats to information technology and operational technology systems, develop and implement a cybersecurity contingency and recovery plan, and conduct a cybersecurity architecture design review.
This is the second Security Directive that TSA has issued to the pipeline sector this year, building upon an initial Security Directive that TSA issued in May 2021 following the ransomware attack on a major petroleum pipeline. The May 2021 Security Directive requires critical pipeline owners and operators to (1) report confirmed and potential cybersecurity incidents to CISA; (2) designate a Cybersecurity Coordinator to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week; (3) review current practices; and, (4) identify any gaps and related remediation measures to address cyber-related risks and report the results to TSA and CISA within 30 days.
Since 2001, TSA has worked closely with pipeline owners and operators, as well as its partners across the federal government, to enhance the physical security preparedness of U.S. hazardous liquid and natural gas pipeline systems. TSA works closely with CISA, the nation’s lead agency for protecting critical infrastructure against cybersecurity threats, to execute this mission.
July 14, 2021
New website provides cybersecurity resources from across the federal government
WASHINGTON – Today, as part of the ongoing response, agencies across the U.S. government announced new resources and initiatives to protect American businesses and communities from ransomware attacks. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), together with federal partners, have launched a new website to combat the threat of ransomware. StopRansomware.gov establishes a one-stop hub for ransomware resources for individuals, businesses, and other organizations. The new StopRansomware.gov is a collaborative effort across the federal government and the first joint website created to help private and public organizations mitigate their ransomware risk.
“As ransomware attacks continue to rise around the world, businesses and other organizations must prioritize their cybersecurity,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “Cyber criminals have targeted critical infrastructure, small businesses, hospitals, police departments, schools, and more. These attacks directly impact Americans’ daily lives and the security of our Nation. I urge every organization across our country to use this new resource to learn how to protect themselves from ransomware and reduce their cybersecurity risk.”
“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting Americans from the rise in ransomware attacks that we have seen in recent years,” said Attorney General Garland. “Along with our partners in and outside of government, and through our Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force, the Department is working to bring all our tools to bear against these threats. But we cannot do it alone. It is critical for business leaders across industries to recognize the threat, prioritize efforts to harden their systems, and work with law enforcement by reporting these attacks promptly.”
StopRansomware.gov is the first central hub consolidating ransomware resources from all federal government agencies. Prior to today, individuals and organizations had to visit a variety of websites to find guidance, latest alerts, updates, and resources, increasing the likelihood of missing important information. StopRansomware.gov reduces the fragmentation of resources, which is especially detrimental for those who have become victims of an attack, by integrating federal ransomware resources into a single platform that includes clear guidance on how to report attacks, and the latest ransomware-related alerts and threats from all participating agencies. StopRansomware.gov includes resources and content from DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the U.S. Secret Service, the Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Departments of the Treasury and Health and Human Services.
Ransomware is a long-standing problem and a growing national security threat. Tackling this challenge requires collaboration across every level of government, the private sector, and our communities. Roughly $350 million in ransom was paid to malicious cyber actors in 2020, a more than 300% increase from the previous year. Further, there have already been multiple notable ransomware attacks in 2021 and despite making up roughly 75% of all ransomware cases, attacks on small businesses often go unnoticed. Like most cyber-attacks, ransomware exploits the weakest link. Many small businesses have yet to adequately protect their networks and StopRansomware.gov will help these organizations and many more to take simple steps to protect their networks and respond to ransomware incidents, while providing enterprise-level information technology (IT) teams the technical resources to reduce their ransomware risk.
DHS, DOJ, the White House, and our federal partners encourage all individuals and organizations to take the first step in protecting their cybersecurity by visiting StopRansomware.gov.