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SBIR Success Story- Grier Forensics, LLC

10451 Mill Run Circle, Suite 910
Owings Mills, MD 21117

Contact:  Sivi Eckhaus
Phone:  410.220.0969
E-Mail: seckhaus [at] (seckhaus[at]grierforensics[dot]com)
Related Website:

Project Title: Secure Email Agent Using the Domain Name System (DNS) as a Trust Infrastructure

NIST Award(s): NIST SBIR 70NANB14H290

Technology Developed: Great DANE makes email confidential and secure.  As the first open source implementation of the IETF DANE SMIMEA standard, Great DANE plugs in to email servers and clients and, using the DNS as a worldwide distributed database, allows anyone to verify their email correspondent is who they say they are and that no one else can read, intercept, spoof, or forge their email.

Key Words: email, Domain Name System, DNS, DANE, S/MIME, SMIMEA, Great DANE, open source, authentication, confidentiality, phishing, spam, encryption, privacy

Uses of Technology/Products/Service: Email, by itself, isn’t secure or private.  Great DANE seeks to solve that by allowing email to automatically verify that the author of any email you receive is who they say they are, and that only your intended recipient can read it.  While technologies to provide encryption for email are decades old, they’ve failed to see widespread adoption, because they require a manual setup process to exchange certs or sign keys.  In contrast, Great DANE automates the entire process, start to finish, so that you can send or receive an email to a total stranger with complete trust and security.  Great DANE avoids reinventing the wheel, and instead uses the Domain Name System (DNS), which already provides a backbone to the Internet, to provide universal privacy and trust for any email correspondent.

Benefit to Company: Great DANE has allowed Grier to maintain its thought leadership in the fields of advanced network security and privacy.  The Great DANE website, , provides detailed information to people worldwide, not only about Great DANE, but about underlying security technologies in general, and has resulted in multiple follow-on engagements, public and private.  Producing Great DANE has allowed Grier to engage with other thought leaders and experts in the field.  And the revenue stream has contributed to Grier’s growth and new jobs.

Technology’s Impact on Company’s Growth: Strategic, Tactical

How Product was Commercialized (optional): Grier has successfully licensed Great DANE to a Fortune 500 Tech Company.  This key customer is a major provider of email in the United States.  As free email becomes more widely available, they need additional features they can offer their customers to differentiate themselves, and selected DAME SMIMEA security, via Great DANE, as a potential offering. This customer has completed a pilot which successfully demonstrated the end user capabilities and technical operations involved in rolling out Great DANE’s security as an opt-in to their user base.  Subsequent to the pilot, they have launched exploration of integrating Great DANE into their production environment.

Other Comments Related to Company’s Success Story: Open source and open standards have played a key role in Great DANE’s success.  Great DANE is the first wide spread implementation of the IETF DANE SMIMEA and RFC 8162, and draws on other widely adopted open standards, including the DNS, S/MIME, and DANE itself.  Great DANE is likewise fully open source, with 100% of its source code available on Github.  And, finally, Great DANE partners or integrates with other key open source software, including Mozilla Thunderbird, Horde, and DNS servers.

Past R&D and/or Sales from this Project (optional): Grier has received well into the six figures of revenue for Great DANE from enterprise customers.

Estimated Future Annual R&D and/or Sales from this Project (optional): Potential future revenue over the next three years exceeds 3.4M.

Created June 10, 2019, Updated August 23, 2023