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US Air Force awards blockchain cybersecurity contract to Xage

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Last week, California-based blockchain firm Xage Security announced it was awarded a security contract by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) for the U.S. Department of Defence (DoD). Xage focuses on Industrial IoT (IIoT), ensuring the security of IoT and other devices.

The nature of IIoT and military installation or battlefields is they can involve many thousands of devices, including sensors. Because there are so many devices and they are invariably remote in the field, the attack surface is much larger than an internal network.

It’s necessary to prevent anyone from adding unauthorized devices to the network and to detect whether installations have been tampered with.

Xage Security Fabric uses blockchain to store policies about which nodes can join the network, identity and privileges information, and an audit trail of activity.

Often when an intruder makes an attack, they might change a password and cover their tracks by amending audit logs.

However, if the logs of password changes and activities are recorded on a blockchain, the attacker would have to manipulate records on many nodes. This significantly raises the bar and renders the records almost tamperproof as well as fault-tolerant. If one node goes offline, the data is available elsewhere.

“With digitization transforming industrial and military operations, we need to assure that devices, networks, and cyber-dependent functions perform as expected — even in the face of cyberattacks, system failures, and errors,” said Duncan Greatwood, CEO of Xage Security.

Greatwood further added, “Xage’s blockchain-protected security architecture establishes trust in these distributed and diverse ecosystems. We are proud to be working with the U.S. Air Force to find new ways to protect, connect, and streamline mission systems and processes.”

The USAF contract was awarded under the AFWERX Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR).

Two months ago, Xage unveiled two innovations to improve the security and scalability of its blockchain platform.

Last year, the startup raised $12 million in a Series A funding round led by GE Ventures and March Capital Partners. And this isn’t the company’s first government contract. The U.S. Department of Energy also awarded a research contract to the firm. Plus utility ComEd is working with Xage to secure electricity systems using blockchain.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force is exploring other applications of blockchain. It has awarded two separate contracts this year to prevent chip tampering, one of them was a $7.6 million award to Florida-based iCAMR for blockchain solutions.

A few months ago, the USAF said it was working with SIMBA Chain for a manufacturing traceability project. Around the same, another blockchain contract was awarded to Constellation for data interoperability and security.

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