FBI launches cybersecurity project

FBI launches cybersecurity project
FBI launches cybersecurity project 

By Wilson P. Dizard III
GCN Home

The FBI has chosen the National Center for Supercomputing Applications 
at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to host a new law 
enforcement cybersecurity research center.

The bureau said it would provide $3 million to support the first two 
years operation of the National Center for Digital Intrusion Response. 
The new center represents an expansion of the FBIs existing work with 
the university, which also receives funds from other federal agencies to 
carry out cybersecurity research and development.

This effort will benefit the scientists, engineers and other researchers 
who use cyber-resources at NCSA and other federal centers by protecting 
the cyberinfrastructure they rely on, said NCSA Director Thom Dunning in 
an FBI press statement released earlier this month. NCSA and the 
University of Illinois have been and continue to be at the forefront of 
developing, deploying and safeguarding advanced computing resources.

The bureau said the state universitys IT security scholars would work 
with FBI cybersecurity specialists to understand what new capabilities 
are required to better detect and investigate cyberattacks, develop new 
tools and ensure that FBI agents in the field can use them effectively.

The NCSA has 22 years of experience in protecting high-performance 
computers from cyber attacks, the bureau said. The work has included 
developing software for data analysis, visualization, collaboration and 
communication, the FBI said.

Its about understanding whats needed to solve cases and protect the 
cyberinfrastructure which is so critical to our national way of life, 
according to a prepared statement by Von Welch, leader of NCSAs Security 
Research and Development division and a member of NCDIRs leadership 
team. NCDIR has evolved from the decade-long engagement NCSA has had 
with the FBI, which has included working with them on multiple 
investigations, often leading to arrests.

The bureaus expansion of its work with the university team reflects 
changes in the patterns of crime and national security threats, the FBI 

While cyberattacks were once considered a specialized niche in law 
enforcement, today there are digital aspects to many crimes and national 
security threats; all investigators must be able to pursue criminals 
operating in cyberspace, the FBI said. NCDIR will provide training, 
including intensive summer workshops, so all FBI agents have the 
opportunity to use these new tools in the field.

According to a bureau description of the NCSAs work, the universitys IT 
security team leads the National Center for Advanced Secure Systems 
Research and collaborates with other scholars via the Information Trust 

NCSA has been funded by the National Science Foundation and other 
federal agencies to develop IT security tools and projects such as:

    * MyProxy, a tool for grid credential management;
    * Framework for Log Anonymization and Information Management, an app 
      that facilitates sharing of log data among secure systems;
    * GridShib, at tool that supports identity federation for grids;
    * Trustworthy Cyberinfrastructure for the Power Grid; and
    * Illinois Terrorism Task Forces First Responders Credentialing.

We are very excited about the opportunities offered by partnering with 
such knowledgeable and trusted colleagues, said John H. Stafford, acting 
special agent in charge of the FBIs Springfield division.

NCSA brings to the table an extraordinary level of experience in 
navigating the complex landscape of the Internet, which NCDIR will 
leverage to advance the capabilities of the FBI, Stafford said. This 
will serve to bring to justice not only sophisticated criminal 
organizations, but also to better defend cyberspace against terrorist 
attacks and hostile intelligence organizations.

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