Hackers continue to breach our everyday lives, with recent reports of stolen consumer credit and debit card data from Home Depot and other major retailers contributing to a national cybersecurity scare.
Such a scare prompts action. As part of Computer Science Tech Day September 12 at the Charles B. Wang Center, Stony Brook University’s Department of Computer Science opened the National Security Institute (NSI) — a program intent on amplifying our cybersecurity through technological research and development.
“We had a dream to build an institute to protect our homeland and strengthen our cybersecurity,” said NSI Director and Associate Professor of Computer Science Radu Sion, before introducing a panel of national security experts from various government agencies. “Today, we realize that dream.”
The panel discussion, titled “Government Sponsored Research: A Major Enabler for Cyber Security Technology Transfer,” brought together speakers from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Army Research Office (ARO) and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA).
“Cyber research needs to address national security needs – not restricted to government operations, but inclusive of everything that’s key to our society’s infrastructure,” said Konrad Vesey of the IARPA. “The federal government needs proposals that express optimistic views and techniques for software assurance.”
Software assurance describes the level of confidence that software is free from vulnerabilities, or weaknesses, which hackers may exploit. Along with assurance, the NSI will focus on leading national security research and technology development, educating defense professionals, raising awareness of and developing public policy for cybersecurity and establishing relevant public-private partnerships.
“Our main goal is not just to launch the National Security Institute, but also to bring industry in the mix too,” said Distinguished Professor and Chair of Computer Science Arie Kaufman.
Computer Science Tech Day at the Wang Center also incorporated a job and internship fair featuring more than 50 companies such as Amazon, Google and Bloomberg, and more than 100 quick-fire research and technology presentations by Stony Brook graduate students and faculty researchers.
“I commend Stony Brook for leading the role of cybersecurity research and STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] education,” said Congressman Tim Bishop shortly before the NSI was declared open. “Stony Brook University is truly a gem — Long Island and our country can be proud.”
— By Brian Smith