Wireless intrusion detection system (WIDS)

Award Year 

The transfer of the National Security Agency's (NSA) patented Wireless Intrusion Detection System (WIDS) to Integrata Security stands as an excellent example of how disparate parts and value propositions can converge to not only move intellectual property from the lab to market, but also launch a company and commercialize technology from the best possible position. (more)

The NSA WIDS technology is the world's most advanced cybersecurity solution for wireless local area networks (LANs). Unlike traditional WIDS, which channel-hop, leaving networks periodically exposed to undetected attack, NSA's technology continuously monitors all Wi-Fi channels. Its anomaly detection and alerting capabilities also exceed competing solutions, ensuring that security breaches are reported and can be acted on immediately to prevent or minimize harm.

This unparalleled level of wireless network protection is critical given the increasing numbers of sophisticated cyberattacks, particularly for the nation's defense as well as for financial, energy, health care and other high-risk industries. Many industry sectors have avoided any use of wireless networks due to risk exposure.

Patented in 2011, NSA's WIDS was invented by Kristen Matlock, a computer systems researcher in Secure Wireless Research, in response to a Department of Defense directive. It was transferred to Integrata in September 2013, just months after Integrata CEO Mike Geppi and his management team approached the NSA Technology Transfer Program (TTP) in search of federal cybersecurity intellectual property to commercialize.

Integrata was an ideal commercialization partner. Determined to launch a cybersecurity product-based company, the founders had the tenacity and expertise needed to succeed. A former banker, Geppi knew firsthand the strong resistance to use of wireless LANs in the financial market, while other team members had deep experience in systems architecture and large-scale project management. With the assistance of Linda Burger, then a TTP agent and now director of the NSA TTP, Integrata has leveraged its strengths to tap the numerous entrepreneurial resources within Maryland's Innovation Ecosystem. For example, Integrata participated in two area business incubators and connected with the Maryland Technology Corp. (TEDCO), ultimately receiving $100,000 of seed funding from the organization.

Just a year after signing an exclusive Patent License Agreement (PLA) with NSA, Integrata has secured $1.5 million in commercial preorders, fully establishing itself as a market leader in wireless network security. The company has also created 10 new jobs, with the expectation of adding additional high-paying positions before year-end, and strengthened state and regional economies through partnerships with area manufacturing companies.