December 2, 2009

MIT Joins Cybersecurity Research Consortium

Will address nation's most pressing cyber threats

Northrop Grumman Corporation has invited three of the nation's leading cybersecurity research institutions, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon and Purdue University to join a newly formed Cybersecurity Research Consortium to advance research in this field and develop solutions to counter the complex cyber threats facing our economy, freedom of information, and national security.

The announcement was made December 1 in a National Press Club briefing where representatives discussed how this consortium "” unique in composition, approach and mission "” will accelerate the pace of taking novel ideas to real-world application and thus address our nation's most pressing cyber threats.

The Northrop Grumman Cybersecurity Research Consortium (NGCRC) members maintain laboratories and centers recognized worldwide for their research in this area. They include MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), Carnegie Mellon's CyLab, and Purdue's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS).

The universities were chosen for their long-term, leading-edge research in cybersecurity and their national standing in this arena. When paired with Northrop Grumman's deep domain knowledge and understanding of the global threat, this industry-academic enterprise will find solutions to the cyber threats facing our critical systems whose demise would threaten national security.

"The MIT CSAIL team approaches the cyber security problem from multiple perspectives "” how to design software systems from the ground up to be secure and dependable, how to provide a security audit trail that captures every system event that is related to information security, and how to design new hardware architecture so that it can protect software," said Victor Zue, director of MIT CSAIL.

"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, Northrop Grumman Information Systems. "To help mitigate these threats, we must bring together industry and our academic institutions. By combining the creative intellectual freedoms of academia with the full spectrum capabilities within Northrop Grumman, we can accelerate the pace of taking novel ideas to significant application. We have an obligation to our clients and our nation to invest in new technologies to get ahead of the cybersecurity threat. This consortium will serve to organize some important US organizations to help increase our nation's security in cyberspace."

The consortium will take on some of the world's leading cyber problems including attribution in cyberspace, supply chain risk, and securing critical infrastructure networks. The NGCRC will initially sponsor ten projects and provide graduate student fellowships while continuing to expand the portfolio of research to cover the many different aspects of cybersecurity.  Members of the NGCRC will coordinate research projects, share information and best practices, develop curricula, author joint case studies and other publications, and provide a greater number of learning opportunities and applications for students and the defense community overall. 


MIT's CSAIL is the university's largest interdepartmental lab with more than 800 members, including more than 90 Principal Investigator from eight departments, and approximately 450 students. CSAIL's early innovations include public-key encryption, networks, computer architecture, and the World Wide Web.


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