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Vulnerabilities / Threats

12/3/2009
12:45 PM
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Northrop Grumman, Universities Team In Effort To Get Ahead Of Cybersecurity Threats

New Northrop Grumman Cybersecurity Research Consortium (NGCRC) includes labs from Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Purdue

Northrop Grumman has formed a consortium with Carnegie Mellon, MIT, and Purdue aimed at researching and developing solutions to protect the nation's cyber infrastructure. The new Northrop Grumman Cybersecurity Research Consortium (NGCRC) will sponsor 10 projects and grant graduate fellowships in the initial phase of a multimillion dollar effort.

"We have been working in the cybersecurity domain for more than 20 years, and I have never seen the threats so intense," said Robert Brammer, chief technology officer of Northrop Grumman for Information Systems, in a statement. "To help mitigate these threats, we must bring together industry and our academic institutions" as a way to expedite the development of new technologies and approaches to getting ahead of the cybersecurity threats, he said.

The group will leverage the renowned research labs -- Carnegie Mellon's CyLab, MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, and Purdue's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security.

"We require leap-ahead technology developments to improve the position of defenders. Our NGCRC is all about creating leap-ahead technologies to implement on a large scale," Brammer said at the announcement of the new consortium.

Among the projects the consortium could take up include research at CMU on detecting integrity attacks on control software systems, such as determining whether the software embedded on a device has been altered, according to CMU. CMU also plans to contribute work it has begun on minimizing the attack window for exploitable vulnerabilities in software, including new ways to find and prioritize new bugs and to patch them. Another project on deck is one on real-time forensics.

MIT, meanwhile, is working on a new style of computer architecture that lets computers "tell right from wrong," according to MIT. And Purdue has been researching what it calls "fast forensics," which focuses on ways to investigate cell phones, PDAs, and portable devices that contain evidence of criminal activity. It's also working on defenses against collaborative attacks in service-oriented architectures.

Eugene Spafford, executive director of Purdue's CERIAS, said at the NGCRC announcement that the consortium is a way to get ahead of the threat "instead of being reactive [and to] serve as an example for other organizations to step forward and take the threat more seriously."

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Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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