Industry and academia answer cyber call


Northrop Grumman Corporation has invited three leading US cybersecurity research institutions — Carnegie Mellon, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Purdue University — to join a Cybersecurity Research Consortium to advance research in this field and develop solutions to counter complex computer threats.


The announcement was made in a briefing at the National Press Club 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.
"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 for 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 organisations to help increase our nation’s security in cyberspace."

The Northrop Grumman Cybersecurity Research Consortium (NGCRC) members maintain laboratories and centers recognised worldwide for their research in this area. They include Carnegie Mellon’s CyLab, MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), 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 real-world cyber threats facing the critical systems whose demise would threaten national security.

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 defence community overall.
"In this consortium, researchers from Carnegie Mellon CyLab will work side-by-side with Northrop Grumman researchers to address critical real-world challenges by transitioning and further developing CyLab technologies," said Adrian Perrig, technical director of Carnegie Mellon CyLab and a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon.

CyLab is a cross-disciplinary, university-wide research program dedicated to cybersecurity, privacy and dependability. It involves six colleges, and includes over 50 faculty members and 130 graduate students, as well as numerous partners in industry and government. Several research centers within CyLab also focus on cutting-edge research, including the Trustworthy Computing Center, the Biometrics Center, the Usable Privacy and Security Lab (CUPS) and the Mobility Research Center.


In the past decade, CyLab research has contributed to innovations in mobile ad-hoc network security, sensor network security, increased understanding and usability of privacy and security tools and trustworthy computing.
"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.

MIT’s CSAIL is the university’s largest interdepartmental lab with over 800 members, over 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.
"The Cyber Research Consortium is a wonderful, new initiative for CERIAS," said Gene Spafford, executive director of CERIAS, Purdue University. "For over 15 years, Purdue has been the leading academic group in research and education in information security.


“Our mission has been to build collaborative relationships with industry, government and other academic entities to advance the state of cybersecurity through basic and applied research while serving as a resource to the global community. We welcome this opportunity for new collaborations and inspirations, and look forward to continuing to innovate at the forefront of information protection and privacy."