Defence gives Penten AU$2.2m to up Australian Army's cyber capability

The Canberra-based startup has also been provided with funding to develop a cyber-management capability and enhance the Army's security countermeasures.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Australian cybersecurity firm Penten has received two contracts totalling AU$2.2 million from the federal government to improve the Australian Army's cyber capabilities.

Under the deal, Penten will develop technology that seeks to enhance the Australian Army's capacity to send communications over unsecured networks.

A statement from Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said funding has also been provided to help the Canberra-based startup develop a cyber-management capability and enhance security countermeasures.

The tech, Price said, seeks to help the Australian Army monitor network traffic and mitigate attacks on its network.

"Innovation is critical to build and sustain the Australian Defence Force's capability edge," Price said. "Australia benefits from an industrial base of many agile small to medium enterprises like Penten."

See also: Australia isn't buying local cyber and the rest of the world might soon follow

Senator Zed Seselja said the contracts will allow members of the Canberra defence industry community continue to be engaged in developing "cutting-edge technologies" for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

"I congratulate Penten on the work they have done so far in their contribution to our nation's security, and strongly support the opportunities the Defence Innovation Hub affords to Canberran businesses to contribute to our nation's Defence," he added.

Penten was in February last year awarded a AU$1.3 million contract from the Department of Defence to develop a cryptography solution for the Australian Army.

The deal saw the company further develop its AltoCrypt technology, which enables secure mobile access to government networks.

The aim of the project was to deliver Defence secure wireless devices to counter new cyber threats and streamline information in deployed headquarters of the ADF.

The new funding comes via the government's Defence Innovation Hub.

The Defence Innovation Hub was launched in December 2016 to facilitate and nurture the development of innovative technology and ideas in support of Australia's Defence capability.

Alongside the Hub, the federal government also announced a AU$730 million investment in Australia's Defence capability and innovation, launching the "Next Generation" Technologies Fund the following March in a bid to thwart emerging attack methods via "creative solutions" that benefit Defence as well as the nation's industry.

"The hub is committed to working with Australian industry to foster innovation at various levels of technological maturity, transitioning from concept exploration through to a mature, usable capability for the Australian Defence Force," then-Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said previously.

In April, Defence handed out over AU$15.1 million in Innovation Hub contracts, awarding nine organisations deals to help it develop innovative technologies.


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