$8.5m awarded to 17 companies in AustCyber Projects Fund

Monday, 17 February, 2020

$8.5m awarded to 17 companies in AustCyber Projects Fund

Seventeen industry-led cybersecurity projects have collectively received almost $8.5 million in matched funding to spur development, commercialisation and Australia’s overall competitiveness and cyber resilience.

The backing comes from AustCyber’s $15 million ‘Projects Fund’ — a three-year initiative designed to help grow Australia’s cybersecurity industry locally and internationally — and follows round two expression of interest submissions from mid-last year.

Of the winning projects, several build on completed round one ventures, including the development of QuadIQ’s Intelligent Trust Evaluation System to “dramatically reduce the time to complete security vetting” and Locii’s platform which aims to fragment, encrypt and shard user biometrics “across multiple trusted services so that no single entity has access to a user’s complete biometric vector”. The project — to be delivered in partnership with LaavaID, Macquarie Bank, Nu Mobile and the Australian Finance Group — hopes to improve online safety and eliminate the need to remember multiple usernames and passwords, according to AustCyber.

Others address the sector’s skills shortage, with Alpha Beta to generate an “interactive heat map” of cybersecurity job supply and demand across Australia and Fifth Domain to create “an integrated, virtualised learning platform … to support individual lab training, collective cyber range exercises” and “‘Capture the Flag’ style challenges” and “optimise job readiness”. It builds on Fifth Domain’s round one project which “is already driving outcomes in the vocational and higher education sectors”, AustCyber said.

Female founder-led projects, researching cyber risk interventions’ impacts and developing a threat analytics platform designed to provide insights into “safe Wi-Fi areas and identify malicious Wi-Fi trends and behaviours globally” have also been funded. The projects are being run by Cynch Security with Deakin University and Serinus Security, respectively.

Regional areas are also set to benefit, with Penten to “provide fly-away kits to a pilot group of regional SMEs and academia so they can access their own classified IT networks on a scalable, multi-tenant service”. Meanwhile, Amplify Intelligence and Gallagher will trial their cyber safety service across 100 small businesses, including regional locations, to measure cyber risks from external and internal perspectives.

“The field of applications for this round of AustCyber’s Projects Fund was highly competitive and covered a wide range of areas of cyber capability,” AustCyber Chief Executive Officer Michelle Price said.

“The recipients were selected through a robust process supported by industry experts, who helped us with the tough job of narrowing down which applications would receive funding.

“The Projects Fund is one of our key mechanisms used to identify and support cybersecurity innovation through to commercialisation in Australia, complementing projects funded through industry, research organisations and other government initiatives,” Price said.

The first round saw $6.5 million go to 10 projects, which “provided a total contribution of approximately $35.8 million to growing Australia’s cybersecurity sector” and “delivering globally competitive cybersecurity capability to the world”, AustCyber said.

The full list of round two recipients can be found via AustCyber’s website.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/jijomathai

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