ACSC Research and Development year-end announcement

January 2, 2013

Advanced Cyber Security Center

The ACSC is pleased to announce the submission of the proposal entitled, Cybersecurity Risk Analysis based on Financial Engineering and Big-Data Analytics (CRAFA), led by the University of Massachusetts Amherst, represented by PIs Wayne Burleson, Anna Nagurney, Mila Getmansky, Senay Solak, Yanlei Diao, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, represented by PI Andrew Lo.  This was submitted for an NSF grant in the NSF Secure and Trustworthy Computing category and seeks funding of $1.6 million dollars.  Results of the entry are not expected until next summer. 

The ACSC supported the initial research that led to this proposal through two 9-month planning grants and are very excited to see the work continue in an expanded form as described in the proposal.   The ultimate proposal consolidated our two “Prime the Pump” research projects, Cybersecurity Risk Analysis and Investment Optimization and A Platform for Data-Intensive Cybersecurity Monitoring.  The two initial projects were funded by $75,000 seed grants provided from a funding pool that was contributed to by our financial services members.  At present we still have one tranche of $75,000 left for our next project, and look forward to conversations around future funding opportunities.

Associated with the NSF proposal, we are also enthusiastic about the potential of serving as the vehicle for the "Transitions to Practice" option, in which we will expand our existing data and threat-sharing facility at The MITRE Corporation in Bedford, MA, to include a specific data repository to support the technology transfer of this research in cybersecurity risk analysis and optimization. Several of our members will be included on the advisory board of this project.  We appreciate those ACSC members who have contributed significant time by their information security executives to help direct and advise the development of the proposal.

While the results of the proposal are not expected for some time, we look forward to continuing to work with this diverse and talented team.  One major hurdle still remaining, and something that will provide great added value should we receive the grant, is reaching agreement on data-sharing between industry and academia.  As we have encountered in our two research and development programs so far, and as was reiterated very clearly during the 2nd Annual ACSC Conference on November 15th, the challenge of developing a secure way to share data between industry and our academic partners is an impediment to making needed progress.  Liberty Mutual, among other members, has been very enthusiastic about the potential of sharing data with researchers, but as yet, we have not found a way to do this which adequately protects the privacy of customers.  Our academic and industry partners have agreed in principle to drafting a data management plan according to the needs of both sides. While we were unable to resolve this issue in advance of the NSF submission, we are committed to seeing this through, and will seek to formalize this and start a dialogue early in 2013 about data management requirements. 

The future of the research and development “Prime the Pump” seed grants looks strong.  As we hoped, a number of potentially viable Grand Challenges were put forth at the annual conference, and early in the new year we will look forward to bringing these ideas up for consideration for the next round of grants.  You can expect future communication from us around this issue.