By Wilson P. Dizard III
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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