NSF makes significant investment in cyber security

August 23, 2013

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has granted $20 million of funding to three projects that will research cyber security measures.

Farnam Jahanian, NSF’s assistant director for computer and information science and engineering, acknowledged that these attacks are one of the “most significant economic and national security challenges facing our nation today”.

The NSF has already been supporting this research in the US for more than a decade, which it hopes to continue through the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program.

The three Frontier awards that are to receive this funding are expected to use the money to come up with ways to better protect infrastructure, as well as give way to a more secure information society.

Mr Jahanian commented: “NSF’s investments in foundational research will transform our capacity to secure personal privacy, financial assets, and national interests.

“These new Frontier awards will enable innovative approaches to cyber security, with potential benefits to all sectors of our economy.”

It is not yet clear how each of the projects will spend the money, but their fields of expertise could span everything from penetration testing to payment security.

Last month, research from McAfee predicted that the global economy could be shedding as much as US$500 billion (AU$545 billion) a year due to cybercrime.

A model put together by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies illustrated that international economies are currently losing between $100 billion and $500 billion as a result of these attacks.

For the purposes of the study, malicious cyber activity was categorised into six areas: the loss of intellectual property, the loss of sensitive business information and reputational damage to the hacked company.

Other areas taken into consideration were cyber crime, opportunity costs and the additional expense associated with securing networks, all of which have the potential to cause serious financial damage.