Carnegie Mellon University
June 01, 2011

News Brief: Cybersecurity Progress

Northrop Grumman Corporation and three of the nation's leading cybersecurity research universities, Carnegie Mellon University, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( MIT) and Purdue University, announced today the progress they have made in developing solutions for pressing cybersecurity threats during a briefing at the National Press Club.

As part of the Northrop Grumman Cybersecurity Research Consortium, this unique industry/academia partnership set out in December 2009 to advance research, facilitate collaboration among the nation's top scientists and accelerate solutions to counter the fast-changing cyber threats.

"The threats continue to increase in both number and sophistication," said Robert Brammer, vice president and chief technology officer, Northrop Grumman Information Systems. "Our research is significant in that it is directly focused on major issues impacting our customers' needs and is already achieving some significant results. The collaboration among our industry professionals and the university researchers has been exciting, and I look forward to the consortium being a significant factor in the race to counter the growing threats in cyberspace."

Representatives highlighted progress in several key areas including large-scale information systems operations, where the consortium has developed approaches to improve the security of cloud computing. The consortium has also developed new approaches for organizing and evaluating experiments performed on cyber test ranges. This approach will allow customers to better evaluate large-scale cyber attack and defense strategies in a cost-effective manner.

"The consortium has also developed automatic techniques to analyze computer software designs to look for potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities," added Brammer. "If successful on a large-scale, these techniques will significantly improve software security for customers while reducing the time and cost it takes to develop, certify and accredit these systems for government operations."

The Northrop Grumman Cybersecurity Research Consortium members maintain laboratories and centers recognized globally 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).

Northrop Grumman is transitioning the results of the research to the marketplace through its Independent Research and Development (IR&D) program as well as through contract research and development and customer projects. The consortium continues to provide graduate student fellowships and has expanded the portfolio of research from 10 to 13 projects to cover the emerging challenges in cyberspace.

"Cybersecurity is vital to economic prosperity, personal privacy and national security; and academic research is vital to the advancement of cybersecurity," said Richard Power, distinguished fellow, director of strategic communications for Carnegie Mellon CyLab (Silicon Valley Campus). "The Northrop Grumman Cybersecurity Research Consortium provides us with a new research model, emphasizing technology transition. This process of transitioning academic innovation to industry delivers social value, for example creating jobs, spurring further innovation and of course, enhancing cybersecurity."

"The Cybersecurity Research Consortium, led by Northrop Grumman, plays a very important role in fostering the development of new security technologies in academia and facilitating their transition to real-world use," said Professor Ronald L. Rivest, lead of MIT's CSAIL. "We believe that such industry/academic collaboration is essential for successful action against the increasingly serious and effective cyber-attacks we are witnessing today."

"The Cybersecurity Research Consortium has proven to be a wonderful initiative," said Eugene H. Spafford, executive director of Purdue's CERIAS. "For more than two decades, Purdue has been leading 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 information assurance, security and privacy. Northrop Grumman has been our partner in these efforts for many years. This consortium has enabled us to work even more closely with them, as well as with a few of our academic peers, on solutions to current and future threats to cybersecurity. We are pleased to be part of this ongoing, vital partnership devoted to advancing the states of knowledge and practice in cybersecurity."