phone in pocket (Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock.com)

DHS testing portable kit to uncover rogue wireless devices

The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate is testing portable technology that can detect, locate and identify all cellular, Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi devices operating within a 3,000 square-foot area.

The Silicon Valley Innovation Program awarded a Phase 5 Other Transaction Agreement to Bastille Networks, an enterprise threat detection firm, to continue working with DHS to demonstrate how its software-defined radios and machine learning technology can passively monitor an area for wireless device emissions.

The ability to monitor the electromagnetic spectrum enables real-time detection of wireless devices so that protective operations and law enforcement can detect uninvited wireless devices in meeting spaces, remote offices, hotel rooms or in the field.

Initially developed for the Defense Department, Bastille’s Flyaway Kit is portable version of its enterprise product. The self-contained system comes with five sensors, a mini-switch, laptop, cat6 cables and tripods, and it can fit into several types of protective cases for temporary mobile deployments.

It takes between 30 and 90 minutes to detect and locate cellphones and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and BLE devices. The system then shows the rogue devices as dots on a map.

DHS S&T has acquired the Flyaway Kit for additional independent testing and evaluation in a controlled setting to validate requirements, evaluate cost-benefits and determine the system’s usability in the field.

DHS stakeholders and the wider government community are continuously in search of capabilities that can be rapidly deployed for temporary field applications, agency officials said in the announcement. The Flyaway Kit aligns with that operational need.

“While Bastille Networks is selling their permanent system developed under SVIP to other government agencies,” SVIP Managing Director Melissa Oh said, “their ability to understand DHS’ evolving needs and quickly develop a mobile capability will enable transition of this much needed technology to DHS in the future.”

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