The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded blockchain application developer Factom $199,000 to advance the security of digital identity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

DHS Science and Technology Directorate awarded the funds for a project titled "Blockchain Software to Prove Integrity of Captured Data From Border Devices"; proposals for Securing the Internet of Things (IoT), were submitted under the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP), said a press release.

The program was launched in December 2015 to encourage non-traditional performers to offer solutions to some of the toughest threats facing DHS and the homeland security mission, it said.

"IoT devices are embedded within our daily lives – from the vehicle we drive to devices we wear – it's critical to safeguard these devices from adversaries, said DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Reginald Brothers. "S&T is excited to engage our nation's innovators, helping us to develop novel solutions for the Homeland Security Enterprise."

The Internet of Things is a convergence of mobile devices, information technology networks, connected sensors and devices. The DHS said it seeks novel ideas and technologies to improve situational awareness and security for protecting these domains, including the 16 critical infrastructure sectors monitored by DHS.

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"The start-up community is already developing innovative commercial solutions for IoT, so why not take advantage of that?" said Melissa Ho, Managing Director, S&T's Silicon Valley Innovation Program. "DHS is engaging this community to gain access to products that will have a large impact to our enterprise, and we're excited by the diversity of solutions this solicitation is able to bring to the Department."

Factom proposes to authenticate devices to prevent spoofing and ensure data integrity using blockchain technology. Factom will create an identity log that captures the identification of a device, who manufactured it, lists of available updates, known security issues and granted authorities while adding the dimension of time for added security.

The goal is to limit would-be hackers' abilities to corrupt the past records for a device, making it more difficult to spoof.