SILICON VALLEY, Calif., Jan. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- NexDefense, Inc., www.NexDefense.com, a provider of cyber security solutions for Industrial Control Systems (ICS) used in the operation of critical infrastructure, today announced that Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) has signed a patent and copyright license giving NexDefense exclusive rights to commercialize its Sophia software. Sophia (Greek for wisdom) is an ICS network fingerprinting and monitoring tool developed at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) during the past three years with an investment of over $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability (DOE-OE).
Sophia is a patent-pending, passive, real-time diagnostic and security tool that builds and maintains an ICS network fingerprint and continuously monitors activity against it, alerting its managers of any abnormal communication for further investigation, monitoring or action.
Beta testing conducted by BEA recently concluded involving more than 40 participants, including major utilities, control system vendors and departments of the federal government. Participants experienced immediate benefits in the fingerprinting process (mapping of communication activities) and longer-term benefits in monitoring and testing modifications to ICS configurations. Beta participants and others in the industry have expressed interest in obtaining commercial-grade Sophia software, services and support. Currently, there are 12 active federal government users, including organizations within Homeland Security, the U.S. Army and the Navy.
Cyber security threats to critical infrastructure systems are constantly evolving and ICS network administrators and operators have a challenging job of safeguarding their systems from attacks. ICS networks have unique characteristics that require sophisticated and safe tools to protect critical infrastructure from cyber threats.
Recently, President Obama declared that the "cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation."
"Because of the great need to meet the network security and operational challenges of our critical infrastructure, NexDefense plans to develop, enhance and tailor multiple commercial versions of Sophia to meet those needs," said Michael Assante, Co-Founder of NexDefense. "The resulting products will improve ICS operations reliability, survivability, resilience and efficiency."
"NexDefense has very strong industry relationships and offered a robust business plan to achieve our goal of widespread deployment of Sophia to the energy sector and electric power generation, transmission and distribution systems," said Mark Kaczor, BEA/INL's Senior Commercialization Manager for Sophia. "We are pleased to award NexDefense this opportunity and further support them through our Technology Assistance Program."
NexDefense is accepting participants in a new Beta II Testing and Planning program through February 15, 2014. The Beta II program will share Sophia with industry experts for their testing and deployment planning, as well as facilitate industry input into the first commercial versions of Sophia from NexDefense planned for later in 2014.
About NexDefense, Inc.
NexDefense brings top industrial automation and cyber security expertise together to forge proactive next-generation industrial cyber security solutions that help protect our nation's critical infrastructure, including providers of national and homeland security, electricity, natural gas, water, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and petroleum-based products.
NexDefense founders' backgrounds include founding the network security intelligence company LogiKeep, now Cisco's IntellishieldTM; Chief Security Officer (CSO) for AEP, a Fortune 200 energy company; CSO for North American Electric Reliability Corporation; creating the National Board of Security Examiners and the ICS curriculum for the SANS Institute; as well as decades of related security, technology and business experience. Read more about us here: http://nexdefense.com/about-us/our-team/.
About Idaho National Laboratory
Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is one of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) 10 multi-program national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of DOE's strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation's leading center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA).
SOURCE NexDefense, Inc.