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$1.3 Million Cybersecurity Research Award Given to University of California by DHS S&T

The University of California San Diego (UCSD) received a $1.3 million contract to create technology to defend againstlarge and sophisticated Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T).

The contract is for a project called, “Surveying Spoofing Susceptibility in Software Systems,” and was awarded through Broad Agency Announcement HSHQDC-14-R- B00017 as part of the S&T’s Cyber Security Division’s larger Distributed Denial of Service Defenses (DDoSD) program.

DHS said, “DDoS attacks are used to render key resources unavailable. A typical DDoS attack might disrupt an organization’s website and temporarily block a consumer’s ability to access the site. A more strategic attack makes a key resource inaccessible during a critical period.  Prominent DDoS attacks have been conducted against financial institutions, news organizations, providers of internet security resources and government agencies. Any organization that relies on network resources is considered a potential target, and the current cyber environment offers many advantages to the attacker.”

S&T’s Cyber Security Division is partnering with the United Kingdom’s Center for the Protection of National Infrastructure and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory on this effort.

“Ensuring that our nation’s networks are secure from DDoS attacks is an S&T priority,” said DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Reginald Brothers. “The DDoSD program will develop innovative technology solutions to combat current and emerging threats.”

“The UCSD effort aims to measure and improve the use of source address validation (SAV) in the Internet,” DHS said, noting that, “In many cases, an attacker can send Internet packets using a false source address. In other words, the attacker falsely reports the packets are coming from a company, organization, or government agency when in fact the packets are coming from the attacker.”

Continuing, DHS said, “A number of denial of service attacks rely on the use of forged source addresses, and forged addresses make tracing the real source of attacks more difficult. SAV techniques could prevent this behavior if they are more broadly deployed and measured. The UCSD team proposes to research, develop, test, and demonstrate new tools and methodologies to monitor and promote SAV.  If successful, the effort will increase the deployment of SAV across the Internet, making some attacks no longer possible and making many other attacks easier to defend against.”

“The effort by UCSD focuses on industry-developed best practices that have wide general support, but have yet to see wide scale adoption in practice,” said Dr. Dan Massey, Cyber Security Division DDoSD Program Manager. “The DHS S&T Cyber Security Division is helping to promote established best practices that, if widely adopted, will make the Internet more secure for everyone.”

“With the success of launching this R&D project, S&T looks forward to securing the nation’s networks by anticipating and defending against DDoS attacks,” DHS said.

For more information, visit scitech.dhs.gov/cyber-research, or email SandT-Cyber-Liaison@hq.dhs.gov.

Last month, a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) was awarded to Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems to help train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.

This grant is for an extension of a previous CyberCorps program that received $1 million from the NSF from 2010 through this summer. The new NSF award will bring the additional $2.5 million to advance Pace’s program over the next five years, the university said in an announcement.

The grant will support 3 to 4 cybersecurity students annually, assist student research in cybersecurity and direct outreach programs such as the GenCyber cybersecurity program for high school teachers.

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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