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$6.4 Project DFNDR awarded federal funding as a Cooperative Research Centres Project

WEDNESDAY 13 MARCH 2024, CANBERRA ACT: Canberra-based cyber security company, Ionize, has been awarded a Federal Government Grant through the Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) Round 15 opportunity to deliver Project DFNDR: Adaptive Cyber Security for Defence and Critical Infrastructure SMEs.

Project DFNDR will be delivered in partnership between Ionize, Cybermerc and the University of Canberra through a groundbreaking initiative dedicated to streamlining cyber threat detection, network defence, response and recovery for small to medium enterprises (SME). Project DFNDR will provide a quantifiable uplift to participating SMEs, through an integrated managed cyber security service and threat intelligence sharing platform.

With federal funding awarded through the Cooperative Research Centres Project, Andrew Muller CEO of Ionize sees Project DFNDR as tangible evidence of a partnership and solution approach within the cyber security industry. “Technological advancement and innovation cannot occur without strong partnerships across private enterprise, research institutions and government. For Australia to continue to be at the forefront of global innovation in cyber security, we need to collaborate across our industry and importantly with academia; advancing technological solutions is driven by data, analysis and lessons learned”.

A key element of Project DFNDR is an integrated managed security service with cyber threat intelligence sharing, delivering proactive and adaptive cyber defences. This creates a simple and effective measure to understand the cyber threat environment for an organisation. Matthew Nevin, CEO of Cybermerc encounters “the numerous security challenges faced by organisations every day. Project DFNDR aims to simplify and strengthen SMEs cyber security by providing a complete service across threat hunting, monitoring and intelligence to mitigate cyber attacks and share information on Advanced Persistent Threats.”

The rapid adoption of technology and its increasing use across all levels of personal and professional domains has undoubtedly expanded the surface for attacks. Dr Abu Barkat Ullah, Associate Professor Information Technology and Systems at the University of Canberra knows that “the ability to predict, prevent and identify cyber threats attempting to exploit networks is a valuable resource and academia and research have crucial roles to play in attaining this. Through our analysis and research of the telemetry provided by companies participating in Project DFNDR, researchers will have access to a significant data lake to support the development of an adaptive cyber security solution.”

Prioritisation for participation in the project will be given to companies operating within or delivering services to defence and critical infrastructure industries. As part of the project, companies that choose to participate will incur no costs during proof of concept, expected to take between 12 – 15 months.
The objective of the CRC-P program is to:
• improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries, especially where Australia has a competitive strength, and in alignment with government priorities;
• foster high quality research to solve industry-identified problems through an industry-led and outcome-focused collaborative research partnerships, especially involving research organisations
• encourage and facilitate small and medium enterprise (SME) participation in collaborative research.

Media Enquiries

E: ProjectDFNDR@ionize.com.au

About Ionize

Ionize was founded in 2008 with the simple belief that every organisation should be able to take their business into the digital realm with the confidence that their customers, employees and partners will have a secure experience.

For this belief to be realised we recognised that cyber security needed to move beyond annual security reviews and instead focus on building a full-spectrum security capability that delivers continuous business and security alignment – from governance & compliance through attack simulations through to remediation and engineering services.

We also understand that building and maintaining your own cyber security capability is hard – which is why we established Ionize HAWC Managed Cyber Security Services – including SOCaaS, CISOaaS and continuous, automated penetration testing services.

About Cybermerc

Cybermerc is an Australian company founded in 2016 by two brothers on a mission to forge a collective cyber defence for Australia and its partners, powered by a community of businesses, academia and government.

Cybermerc connects businesses together in a defensive collaboration against shared cyber threats specialising in:
• cyber security detection and protection for SMBs
• national Cyber Threat Intelligence Sharing Platform for government agencies
• Cyber Threat Assessments of organisations and
• cyber security and threat intelligence training to elevate organisational capability

About University of Canberra

The University of Canberra (UC) has its main campus located in Bruce, Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory. As a civic university in Australia’s capital, we work with government, business and industry to serve our community, region and nation, challenging the status quo in pursuit of innovative and high quality teaching, learning and research impact.

Located within the Faculty of Science and Technology, the School of Information Technology & Systems (IT&S) is at the forefront of Information Technology, Information Systems and Engineering. We ensure students are ready to enter the world’s most in-demand industries, with cutting edge specialisations designed in consultation with some of the world’s leading IT and engineering organisations. Our academic staff are renowned and respected educators, researchers and industry leaders, committed to sharing knowledge, skills, experience and professional connections. They provide graduates with learning experiences that reflect industry advancements and trends, as they hone their technical skillset in real world environments.

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