Honors Gallery

Transfer of PNNL Suite of Cybersecurity Solutions to Cynash, Inc.

Award: Excellence in Technology Transfer

Year: 2018

Award Type: National

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

A combination of three Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) cybersecurity technologies is creating a comprehensive cybersecurity solution covering a range of computational platforms—from mobile to enterprise computing—including the ability to protect older legacy devices that lack the capability of current networking to interface with new cybersurveillance products.

Ant-Based Cyber Defense (ABCD) is a cybersecurity technology that monitors large networks for novel threats using small roaming programs called “digital ants” to patrol the system. MLSTONES provides new algorithms that examine and categorize programs on a monitored system—analyzing these programs the same way biochemists analyze new proteins. SerialTap is a physical device that taps communication between legacy devices and their control systems—such as hydroelectric dams and systems that control water flow—and sends it over an Ethernet network.

PNNL developed the cybersecurity solutions and partnered with the Department of Homeland Security, which recognized the technologies’ potential as part of its Transition to Practice Program (TTP). The technologies caught the interest of entrepreneur Richard Robinson and IP Group’s Scott Forbes, independently. Both parties obtained exploratory licenses to investigate the technologies. PNNL, recognizing the potential synergy posed by Robinson’s technical team and IP Group’s “patient capital,” introduced both parties. IP Group established Cynash, Inc., with Robinson at the helm.  Cynash now has an exclusive license for all three technologies to produce systems demonstrating novel approaches to difficult cybersecurity challenges.

Cynash Inc.’s formation brought together public and private sectors to connect three independent technologies, produce new jobs as a cybersecurity startup company, and increase America’s competitiveness in the cybersecurity R&D landscape.

Now these technologies will be combined to form multiple products that can protect critical infrastructure from current and future cyberattacks. While Cynash currently has six employees and developers, it anticipates growing to a team of 10 to 12 in 2018. The company has already been approached by several clients, including the U.S. Department of Defense, that are interested in testing its newly commercialized technology.

This story is a stellar example of collaborative work across multiple organizations. With the creation of Cynash, Inc., ABCD, MLSTONES, and SerialTap will work together to keep our nation and world safe from cyberattacks.

Contact: Dr. Glenn Fink, (509) 375-3994, [email protected]