Tech Transfer eNews Blog

U Arizona researchers launch start-up to prevent Internet of Things cyberattacks

By David Schwartz
Published: May 11th, 2022

Researchers from the University of Arizona College of Engineering have invented new strategies to mitigate future cyberattacks by helping make cybersecurity for the Internet of Things (IoT) more accessible for companies and organizations of all sizes. Their innovation is the basis of a recently launched a start-up, BG Networks.

Any network-connected device or system that make up IoT is vulnerable to cyberattacks, from smartwatches and other consumer devices to industrial control systems, autonomous vehicles. and the power grid. Those large infrastructure systems are the most concerning, where an attack could have devastating impacts and which cybercriminals have already targeted ransom schemes. 

For example, meat processor JBS and the Colonial Pipeline were both targeted last year and paid multimillion dollar ransoms.

The U of Arizona researchers have developed a two-part technology – a Security Automation Tool and an Embedded Security Software Architecture – that allows engineers without cybersecurity backgrounds to implement complex security protocols to prevent cyberattacks. The tools work with open-source software to allow engineers to add IoT cybersecurity functions like encryption, authentication and secure software updates quickly and efficiently to their systems.

“Hundreds of thousands of bad actors are at work, and the United States has already seen its share of impactful attacks,” said Roman Lysecky, UArizona professor of electrical and computer engineering and co-founder of BG Networks.

The team worked with Tech Launch Arizona, the university’s commercialization office, to protect the innovation and develop the start-up.

“I’ve been so impressed with this concept and this team,” said Doug Hockstad, assistant vice president of Tech Launch Arizona who has a background in software. “The impact that this kind of innovation is positioned to have on society to protect the people and systems we depend upon aligns with the University of Arizona’s goals for research — to create impact and improve lives.”

Source: Tech Launch Arizona

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