Feds Seek Game-Changing Cybersecurity R&D
Research to Focus on Enhancing Trustworthiness of Cybespace
May 13, 2010

Three themes to foster future federal government cybersecurity game-changing research and development have been identified by the White House.

The three themes - tailored trustworthy spaces, moving target and cyber economic incentives - were outlined in a notice posted Thursday in the Federal Register by the National Science Foundation for the National Coordination Office for the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program, part of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

"With the increased attention to cybersecurity, the president's Cyberspace Policy Review challenges the federal community to develop a framework for R&D strategies that focus on game-changing technologies that can significantly enhance the trustworthiness of cyberspace," the notice says.

Cyberspace, as defined in the notice, is the globally interconnected network of information technology infrastructures, including the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors in critical industries

The notice outlines the challenges of the three themes:

    Tailored Trustworthy Spaces: The cost to secure information infrastructures is impossibly high, so sub-spaces in cyberspace must be created to support different security policies and different security services for different types of interactions.

    Moving Target: The cost of attack is asymmetric, favoring the attacker, so defenders must increase the cost of attack and must employ methods that enable them to continue to operate in the face of attack.

    Cyber Economic Incentives: The lack of meaningful metrics and economically sound decision making in security misallocates resources, so economic principles must be promoted that encourage the broad use of good cybersecurity practices and deter illicit activities.

"Achieving enduring trustworthiness of the cyberspace requires new paradigms that re-balance security asymmetries of today's landscape," the notice says.

The National Coordination Office is seeking public comment to refine the themes. Questions individuals could address include, but not limited to:

  • How might the three themes be refined or enhanced to further improve cyberspace?
  • What are the research, development, implementation and other challenges in achieving the goals under each theme?
  • What state-of-the-art activities and use-cases can be cited in support of the three themes?
  • How would your organization's future vision support or incorporate the three themes?
  • Should there be a private sector organization to act as a partner to the public sector in a continuing game-change process?

Comments, which will be accepted between May 19 and June 18, can be submitted at cybersecurity.nitrd.gov or by e-mail to cybersecurity@nitrd.gov.

To kick off the project, representatives from the National Science Foundation, Department of Homeland Security and other agencies will explain the three themes at presentation Wednesday in Berkeley, Calif., which will be followed by a discussion. The event will be webcast at 4:30 p.m. EDT/1:30 p.m. PDT. Information about the event and webcast can be found at www.nitrd.gov/CSThemes.aspx.

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