07.17.09

NUARI And Senator Leahy Announce $7.7 Million In Funding For Cyber Security Research

. . . Recent Intense Waves Of Cyber Attacks Spotlight Norwich University’s And Vermont’s Emerging Roles In Leading On Cyber Security Defense Research And Tactics

NORTHFIELD, Vt. -- In a Friday afternoon visit to the campus, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced $7.7 million in new federal funding for Norwich University to carry out cyber-security projects, solidifying the university’s place as a leader in protecting the nation’s computers against cyber attacks.  The school’s applied research arm will provide the Department of Homeland Security with training and software that will improve the country’s ability to ward off the kind of cyber attacks that last week disrupted key government and commercial websites in the United States and several other countries.     

Norwich will undertake a $1.7 million contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide training to police and fire departments in more advanced skills of computer network defense, and preventing hackers and more organized groups from denying these public safety groups the use of their computer systems.  Norwich University Applied Research Institutes (NUARI), the non-profit research group, will hire approximately 10 employees for the work.  

In a separate effort called WebDECIDE, Norwich will head up a research consortium, which will develop a series of realistic on-line exercises for large-scale financial institutions like stock markets to prepare to deflect attacks.  Norwich University will lead this almost $15 million dollar effort, of which $6 million has been awarded through the Air Force Research Lab in Rome, NY.  The project also involves the Miami University of Ohio, the Potomac Institute of Policy Studies, the University of Nevada at Reno, and Utah State University.

Senator Leahy, a senior member of the Senate’s Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, secured the funding during the Senate’s consideration of the Fiscal Year 2009 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill.  Leahy noted that last week’s “denial of service” cyber-attacks, which temporarily disrupted the websites of the Department of the Treasury and the Secret Service and targeted several others, including Congress and the White House, highlights the acute need for these cyber-security initiatives. 

Leahy in 2002 won enactment of a congressional charter that designated the Norwich University program the National Center for Counterterrorism and Cyber Crime.

“For our first responders and our local public safety units, protecting the public depends on reliable communications, especially computer links and applications,” said Leahy.  “In this networked age, an attack that jams an operating system could be as disruptive as the breakdown of a fire-truck or radio tower.  Norwich University’s specialized knowledge in the realm of cyber-security will help first responders meet this urgent, timely and very real challenge.”

“Norwich University has been in the business of training leaders to build and defend the republic for 190 years,” said Norwich President Richard Schneider. “Norwich and NUARI have been leaders in cyber security education and research for more than 10 years, and this work continues on the cutting edge of this emerging critical infrastructure issue.”

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