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Air Force Featured Stories

AF leads cross-agency partnership on Privoro security platform for commercial mobile devices

  • Published
  • By Air Force Office of Special Investigations Public Affairs Office
Privoro, a Tempe, Arizona-based mobile security company, has been awarded a $37,100,000 firm-fixed-price agreement for prototyping and pilot work to support the establishment of a trusted platform for secure mobility that will bring the advantages of commercial mobile technology to government agencies. Work will be performed in Phoenix, and is expected to be completed Aug. 1, 2024. Fiscal Year 2019 and 2020 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $2,668,000 are being obligated at the time of award. The Air Force Research Laboratory, Dayton, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-19-9-9333).

Privoro, a leading provider of zero trust mobile hardware security solutions that are designed and built in the United States, has had its U.S. Air Force agreement expanded to $37.1 million via an AFVentures Strategic Fund Increase, or STRATFI. The agreement consolidates and expands upon more than a year of prototyping and pilot work with the U.S. Air Force, the Defense Information Systems Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. This unprecedented cross-agency effort will showcase government partnership and support the establishment of a trusted platform for secure mobility that brings the advantages of commercial mobile technology to bear for government agencies.

Privoro’s ExoComputer-based SafeCase platform will help bridge the gap between agencies’ requirement to empower their workforce through mobile technologies and their imperative to defend against mobile security vulnerabilities and threats. Federal agencies recognize that software-focused mobile security solutions address a specific layer but can leave the rest of the mobile device ecosystem exposed, whether at the level of compromised applications, operating systems, firmware or chips. Accordingly, they are partnering with Privoro to enhance its root-of-trust, hardware-focused mobile security platform.

Capabilities that will be brought to scale for federal agency users under this STRATFI agreement include:

• Enabling personnel to carry commercial mobile devices into secure spaces – and creating mobile secure spaces while remote or on the move – by offering hardware-based protections against eavesdropping and unauthorized access to device sensors

• Improving productivity and effectiveness with support for multiple commercial smartphone and tablet platforms

• Empowering operational leaders with trusted location tracking, across any network globally, leveraging the independent SafeCase platform

• Securing electronic authentication tokens and encryption keys on independent root-of-trust hardware built exclusively in U.S.-based ITAR facilities

• Drastically improve identity assurance and secure mobile access to devices and systems through edge-based continuous multi-factor authentication of users

The STRATFI agreement represents increased investment and continuation of Privoro’s existing Air Force Small Business Innovation Research, or SBIR, prototyping agreement for mobile device management integration and Blue Force Tracking/trusted location tracking capabilities, awarded in April 2019.

The $37.1 million agreement represents a $33.6 million increase, funded by a dollar-for-dollar partnership between private investors and the government to make Privoro security solutions available across the defense and federal civilian sectors.

In a recent interview, Frank Konieczny, Air Force chief technology officer, noted that Privoro’s platform solution is one of the most promising new technologies to achieve secure mobility.

According to Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, AFVentures invests in game-changing startups as the commercial investment arm of the Air Force. AFVentures utilizes the STRATFI acquisition mechanism to support its “big bet” companies in becoming programs of record with the Department of Defense and has allocated $550M in awards to 21 companies this year.

Robert Bivins, Office of Special Investigations chief technology officer, noted OSI’s excitement towards continued involvement with Privoro after testing Privoro for over a month at their training academy last year.

“The Privoro SafeCase provides federal agencies with the best of both worlds – a secure infrastructure and a productive work environment,” said Mike Fong, Privoro founder and chief executive officer. “COVID-19 has only accentuated these requirements, as government workers are either working on-site and want to have their mobile devices on hand or are working from home and need to create secure spaces where they are. With built-in protections that work even if the smartphone has been compromised, the SafeCase platform provides a trusted system upon which secure services can be added.”