$10+ Million Collaborative University-Industry Research Projects Highlight the Advanced Cyber Security Center Annual Conference

November 15, 2012

Advanced Cyber Security Center

New England’s university faculty and industry security executives organize to bring significant new federal funds to the region for large-scale cybersecurity research initiatives

Boston, MA, November 15, 2012 - More than 250 leaders from industry, academia, and government joined Gregory Bialecki, Secretary of The Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development today to welcome Dr. Steven King from the U.S. Department of Defense and Scott Tousley from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the Advanced Cyber Security Center Annual Conference: Organizing Public-Private Assets to Solve Grand Challenges at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The Advanced Cyber Security Center (ACSC), launched and supported by Mass Insight Global Partnerships and hosted at The MITRE Corporation, is a next-generation collaboration of industry, university, and government research partners, which has become a national model for regional cyber security centers. After successfully organizing its threat-sharing collaborations through bi-weekly Cyber Tuesday convenings led by threat experts from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and The MITRE Corporation, ACSC leaders today announced an additional agenda centered around New England’s world-class research universities in a new model for research and development (R&D) through education partnerships.

“Since the launch of the ACSC a year ago, our members have been breaking ground in the way we face cyber threats,” said ACSC Chairman and CEO of Mass Insight William Guenther. “This second conference, convening some of the most influential names focused on cyber security, will help move forward our research priorities by framing the need for new public-private, regionally-based R+D collaborations in response to large-scale challenges.”

“The work done by the Advanced Cyber Security Center has been a regional success and has proven to be a model that can be effective on the national level,” said Secretary Bialecki. “It is also a great example of the collaboration that makes Massachusetts a leader in innovation and data security.”

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Roadmap for Cyber Security Research, cyber attacks are increasing in frequency and impact. Every public and private sector organization with an IT infrastructure that hosts sensitive information is at risk, and critical infrastructure that drives the nation’s economy is in danger of attack.

"This event is an important step in bridging the vital regional work of the ACSC with progress made every day on the national level,” added Scott Tousley of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “It is creative, flexible and effective collaboration, like the work of the ACSC, that will help our nation meet the cyber security challenges before us every day."

The ACSC brings together expert practitioners and researchers to conduct threat analysis and share best practices under a Non-Disclosure Agreement, to develop R&D solutions to improve cyber defenses and address cyber security gaps, and to expand graduate education opportunities for new talent in the cyber security field. Major milestones to date include the launch of a secure Web Portal for member information-sharing and access to key data; an ongoing “Cyber Tuesday” program to build personal relationships among front-line cyber operations staff; and a bi-monthly series of Technical Exchange Meetings.

“With today’s advanced threats, our focus as an industry on innovation in security is even more critical and challenging,” said Tom Heiser, President of RSA, The Security Division of EMC and conference keynote. “And it’s why forums such as the ACSC, where we can share intelligence, and orchestrate our response as a community faster and more effectively, are more crucial than ever.”

According to ACSC Executive Director Rick Welch, “The value of the ACSC continues to increase. Not only have we grown from 15 to 27 member organizations since the launch, but nearly 85% of our members reported that they were receiving actionable intelligence and a vast majority are making changes at their companies based on what they learned.”

To launch the ACSC’s new R&D agenda, the conference featured a Student Poster Session, which showcased 25 cyber security solutions proposed by graduate students and post-docs representing 7 research universities. The Student Poster Session was organized by ACSC member Srini Devadas, Edwin Sibley Webster Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with help from ACSC university faculty members.  “Our greatest regional resource is our talent and the potential our students represent as emerging leaders in the field of cyber security,” said Professor Devadas. “Highlighting these outstanding cyber security solutions demonstrates to our members and to our guests from the federal government New England’s strength in developing the next generation of cyber security experts.” The best posters will receive cash awards sponsored by .406 Ventures, Allied Minds, and Fairhaven Capital.  Winners will be determined by the Poster Session Review Committee taking into account audience feedback and announced the week of November 19th.

In addition to keynotes by Tom Heiser, President, RSA, The Security Division of EMC; special guest Dr. Steven King, Deputy Director for Cyber Security in the Information Systems and Cyber Security Directorate of Assistant Secretary of Defense; and Dr. John Savage, An Wang Professor, Department of Computer Science, Brown University, the day-long event featured presentations and panels by nationally recognized information security experts addressing the topics of advanced cyber threats, federal priorities, industry-university partnerships, and New England’s continued leadership in developing solutions and responding to the most sophisticated cyber threats.  

Participants included: Christopher Perretta, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, State Street Corporation; Alex Popowycz, Vice President, Enterprise Information Security, Fidelity Investments; Dr. Jack Wilson, President Emeritus, University of Massachusetts and Distinguished Professor of Higher Education, Emerging Technologies, and Innovation, University of Massachusetts Lowell; Dr. Ari Juels, Chief Scientist and Director, RSA Laboratories; Dr. David Luzzi, Executive Director, Strategic Security Initiative, Northeastern University; Dr. Stephen Chong, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University; Dr. Azer Bestavros, Professor and Director, Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science, Boston University; William Newhouse, Cybersecurity Advisor, Computer Security Division, Information Technology Lab, National Institute of Standards and Technology; and Dr. Herbert Lin, Chief Scientist, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, National Research Council of the National Academies.

For more information on the conference: http://www.acscenter.org/news-events/second_annual_acsc_conference/

For more information on the Center, including a full list of members: http://www.acscenter.org/

About Mass Insight Global Partnerships (www.massinsight.com)
Mass Insight Global Partnerships, founded in 1989, is a Boston-based consulting and research firm that builds strategic pre-competitive alliances between higher education, industry and government, both regionally and globally.

About The MITRE Corporation (www.mitre.org)
The MITRE Corporation is a not-for-profit organization that provides systems engineering, research and development, and information technology support to the government. It operates federally funded research and development centers for the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, with principal locations in Bedford, Mass., and McLean, Va.