[Paleopsych] CHE: Panel of Researchers Urges Government to Step Up Spending on Study of Cybersecurity
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Tue Jan 18 15:10:08 UTC 2005
Panel of Researchers Urges Government to Step Up Spending on Study of
News bulletin from the Chronicle of Higher Education, 5.1.18
By ANDREA L. FOSTER
The federal government is not adequately supporting long-term research
into protecting the nation's technology infrastructure from terrorist
attacks, according to a report that a presidential advisory committee
approved last week.
The report, from the President's Information Technology Advisory
Committee, concludes that networks supporting the country's financial,
utility, telecommunications, transportation, and defense systems are
"highly vulnerable to terrorist and criminal attacks." The report
recommends, among other things, that the federal government provide
more money for research and that it encourage university students to
The report is scheduled to be given to President Bush first and to be
released to the public by early March. But the report's key findings
and recommendations were made public Wednesday in a presentation that
the advisory committee's cybersecurity panel made to the full
committee. The 24-member committee, which includes university and
industry scientists, endorsed the cybersecurity panel's final draft.
"We hope that by raising the issue and providing some of the
documentary evidence that we have that people will take this seriously
and attempt to address it in some meaningful way," said Eugene H.
Spafford, a member of the subcommittee that prepared the report. He is
a computer-science professor at Purdue University and executive
director of the university's Center for Education and Research in
Information Assurance and Security.
In many ways the report echoes the views of the Computing Research
Association, which in July told the cybersecurity panel that the
government needed to spend more on cybersecurity research and
development. The association represents computer scientists in academe
and in industry.
Federal agencies assume that other agencies will provide money and
grants for research on cybersecurity, the new report says, but no
agency is doing enough. The Department of Homeland Security, for
example, assumes that industry and the National Science Foundation
will provide support for cybersecurity research, according to the
cybersecurity panel. And the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
assumes that the science foundation will take up responsibility. The
report recommends that the Defense Department and the Department of
Homeland Security provide more money for research on civilian
The report says that researchers are discouraged from applying for
cybersecurity grants through the Defense Department agency because it
is focused on providing money for short-term projects that can show
results in 12 to 18 months. Also, the agency's programs are
increasingly classified, excluding most colleges and universities from
participation, the report states.
The Cyber Trust, set up by the science foundation to provide grants
for cybersecurity research, has supported only 8 percent of the
proposals it has received, although a quarter of the proposals were
worthy of support, the report states. It recommends that the science
foundation's cybersecurity budget be increased by $90-million a year.
The report observes that fewer than 250 faculty members in the United
States are actively involved in cybersecurity research. The federal
government should step up its recruitment of cybersecurity researchers
and students so that the number of scientists in the field doubles by
the end of the decade, the report says.
Mr. Spafford said that universities are not paying enough attention to
cybersecurity research, in part because the field "doesn't fit neatly
within the traditional department." Besides computer engineering and
computer science, he said, information security "touches on many other
academic disciplines and draws from them," including management,
philosophy, and political science.
Background articles from The Chronicle:
* Computer-Security Experts Urge Researchers to Restructure
* Computer-Security Experts Challenge Researchers to Focus on
Long-Term Solutions (11/21/2003)
* Science Foundation Will Boost Cybersecurity Research, Director
Tells Congress (5/15/2003)
* White House Envisions Role for Colleges in Cybersecurity Plan
45. mailto:andrea.foster at chronicle.com
E-mail me if you have problems getting the referenced articles.
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