By Grant Gross
IDG News Service
Iowa State University and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)
will join with private businesses to attack cybersecurity problems
such as wireless security in a research center opening this year,
participants were to announce Monday.
The new Center for Information Protection, funded mostly through
membership fees paid by cybersecurity vendors and users, will focus on
short-term cybersecurity issues, possibly including research on
methods to comply with federal regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley,
said Doug Jacobson, an Iowa State engineering professor and CTO at
Palisade Systems, a network management and security vendor.
The center, the first cybersecurity-focused effort in the NSF's
Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers Program, will focus
on issues identified by member companies, Jacobson said. The program
has provided seed money for dozens of research projects, many of which
are spun out into organizations fully supported by private industry.
The goal of the center will be to come up with new technologies that
participants can use to fight common cybersecurity problems, Jacobson
said. The intellectual property developed by the center will be shared
among member organizations, and members will be able to use the ideas
that are generated in products they sell.
So far, about 15 organizations have signed up as charter members of
the Center for Information Protection, which will be based at Iowa
State, Jacobson said. The center is looking for a range of companies,
including cybersecurity vendors and consumers of cybersecurity
products, he added.
"We want to bring together not only providers of security solutions,
but we want to bring together organizations that have the problems,"
he said. "We're kind of a neutral third party. We're trying to bring
all these people together to solve problems."
Among the center's charter members are Palisade Systems, The Boeing
Co., Cargill and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
The new center will focus on near-term cybersecurity issues, unlike
the NSF's Global Environment for Networking Investigations, or GENI,
initiative, announced last month. Backers of GENI have proposed an NSF
project to come up with a more secure, next-generation Internet, but
that project would focus its efforts on a futuristic approach.
Instead, the Iowa State center will take a shorter view, Jacobson
said. "We're focusing on problems that are a year or two years out,"
he said. "We're focused on the problems the companies have today."
NSF has funded a number of projects focused on network security since
the U.S. Congress passed the Cybersecurity R&D Act in 2002, said Carl
Landwehr, coordinator of the Cyber Trust program in the NSF's Computer
and Information Science and Engineering Directorate.
"There's a growing awareness that cybersecurity is limiting what we
are confident doing over the Internet," Landwehr said. "The National
Science Foundation is trying to address that."
In addition to creating new cybersecurity technology, the new center
can also educate people about the importance of cybersecurity and
train new experts, Landwehr said. "We need technologists educated in
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