One Goal Is Protection of Critical Infrastructure Such as Power Grids
The invention of cyber space is arguably the greatest technological achievement of modern humanity, allowing instant communication between people oceans apart and super-charging economic activity with real-time communications and just-in-time commerce.
But this new realm of human activity—invisible but for the computer screen—also presents one of the greatest threats to the safety and security of nation states and their citizens, thanks to the emergence of the cyber-attack, a deliberate and malicious attack on the ubiquitous computer systems and networks on which we all depend.
“The (cyber) threat is very real. These intrusions and attacks are taking place every minute and every second of every day,” said Rear Adm. Marshall Lytle, assistant commandant responsible for US Coast Guard Cyber Command, in his keynote address to the Maritime Cyber Security Seminar and Symposium held at Rutgers University in March 2015.
CCICADA and the American Military University organized the Maritime Cyber Security event to begin a national conversation and stimulate urgently needed research on how to counter this threat in the maritime domain, where highly networked ships, ports and oil rigs are vulnerable targets.
Cyber security in the maritime domain is just one aspect CCICADA’s broader cyber-security research portfolio.
In June 2014, CCICADA issued a Report on Cyber Security Education to the DHS with recommendations for a national cyber-security education initiative, recognizing that the nation’s cyber security efforts can only be strengthened with a well-trained cadre of cyber security experts and a general workforce well-educated in safe cyber behavior at all levels of business and government. The report also discussed the need to educate the general public, perhaps starting in the early grades, on the need for proper usage of cyber space, smart phones and other networked devices.
CCICADA researchers are working in the area of cyber analytics where scrutiny of multiple media sources can provide early warning and detection of cyber attacks before they begin. CCICADA researchers are also developing a Personal Cyber Security Assistant (PCSA) designed to monitor the safety of materials entering the electronic workspace. The PCSA ultimately would raise awareness in business, academia and government about cyber security risks.
CCICADA researchers are also analyzing the cyber interdependencies of critical infrastructures such as ports, land transportation systems, power grids, and telecommunications systems. They are researching how best to respond to, and recover from, the cascading effects of cyber attacks, and they are exploring provenance, network security, and identity management to secure infrastructure networks against attacks.
CCICADA is working with cyber universities and experts around the country (including Southern Methodist University, Colorado State University, Georgetown University, and George Washington University as well as the Integrated Justice Information Systems Institute, the Australian Defense Science and Technology Organization, and the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center) to develop an information sharing environment, incorporate GPS elements into cyber interdependencies, understand the behavioral science aspects of good cyber behavior, explore the economics of cybercrime, and review open-source technologies for unmanned remote vehicles.
A consortium of 17 university and business partners, CCICADA uses big-data analysis and mathematical modeling to help resolve homeland security threats. It is a University Center of Excellence within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).