Carnegie Mellon to Launch New Initiative to Ensure Cybersecurity for Domestic and Commercial Sectors


October 22, 2003

Carnegie Mellon University is scheduled today to announce an integrated initiative designed to ensure safety for every computer log-on, including a broad range of home users to small businesses and large corporations. To achieve this goal, the university will combine its existing expertise and related research centers under one umbrella organization called Carnegie Mellon CyLab.

CyLab builds upon the universitys proven problem-solving approaches and a record of interdisciplinary research with more than 50 researchers and 80 students from the College of Engineering, the School of Computer Science, the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management and the CERT Coordination Center (CERT/CC). The CERT/CC is part of the Software Engineering Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense. The CERT/CC also partners with the Department of Homeland Security in the activities of the U.S. CERT.

Securing the nations critical infrastructure requires proactive protection, effective detection and immediate response to threats,said Jared L. Cohon, Carnegie Mellon president. Our new CyLab is designed to work with speed and great efficiency to shore up security breaches that can compromise the Internet-based electronic ties that enhance communications and services that bind so many enterprises together into a network that is the foundation of our economic prosperity, Cohon said.

Pradeep Khosla, Dowd Professor, head of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon and CyLab co-director, said the new lab will bring together the universitys expertise in information assurance, including research and development, public policy, response and prediction.

We will ensure privacy and security by tackling cybersecurity issues from a variety of angles, Khosla said. In cyberspace, threats move very quickly. This is not just a national security issue, but it is a national economy issue too.

Carnegie Mellons new CyLab will help stimulate cooperation between government and business to protect information networks.

At Cisco, we share Carnegie Mellons vision that a comprehensive information security initiative integrating response, prediction, research and education is the best way to address the problem of securing the nations infrastructure, said Greg Akers, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Cisco Systems, a San Jose, Calif.-based company that enables customers to build large-scale integrated computer networks.

We look forward to helping CyLab craft a focused research initiative centered on tools, technologies and practices to improve dependability, secure the Internet, embed security in computer and communications systems, and design a public/private partnership to accelerate outreach training and education, Akers said.

U.S. Representative Mike Doyle, D-Pa.14th District, said that cutting-edge research is critical to the future of our nation. Our economic well-being and our public safety both depend on maintaining the security of our nations information technology systems. Carnegie Mellon has developed tremendous expertise in this field, and the federal government should be taking full advantage of it, Doyle said.

Thats why I worked hard to secure $2.5 million last year and $6 million this year for Carnegie Mellons integrated cybersecurity research and response program. I was pleased that I was able to convince my colleagues in Congress to fully utilize this truly national asset by making this investment in research at Carnegie Mellons CyLab, Doyle said.

Already, Carnegie Mellon researchers are developing computer components such as hard drives and network cards that will be able to defend themselves, and ultimately each other, from attack. The problems continue to grow. In fact, during the first nine months of 2003, more than 114, 000 incidents of virus attacks and other computer breaches were reported to Carnegie Mellons CERT Coordination Center.

Since September 11, 2001, much has changed in the way people think about security, said Richard D. Pethia, director, CERT Coordination Center. Our definition has broadened, our understanding of increasing threats has sharpened and our ideas about how to protect and preserve our national security have evolved in new ways, he said.

And because the Internet is still susceptible to viruses, computer intrusions and cyberterrorism, the new CyLab will focus on developing cutting-edge technologies related to security in distributed systems and wireless and optical networks as well as new technologies to guarantee the privacy of information.

CyLab will support Carnegie Mellons ongoing CyberCorps program and its vision of making 10 million home users more savvy about cybersecurity. Carnegie Mellon received $6.1 million through the Army Research Office to pursue research, development and education in security.

Carnegie Mellon has one of the most technologically sophisticated campuses in the world. When it introduced its Andrew computing network in the mid-1980s, it pioneered educational applications of technology. Technology is pervasive on its 110-acre campus where 5,000 undergraduate students and 3,000 graduate students receive an education characterized by its focus on problem-solving, interdisciplinary collaboration and access to research projects.

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Pradeep Khosla

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