The University of Cincinnati is leading a bold new initiative for cybersecurity. They’ll be heading a new National Science Foundation research center. The focus of this research will be on the various ways cybercriminals sabotage, spy, and hack assorted technologies. Experts hope to develop new methods and techniques that could improve cybersecurity and prevent people from staging catastrophic attacks.
Named the Center for Hardware and Embedded Systems Security and Trust, the industry-university cooperative research center will work closely with the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and a host of industry leaders to determine the best way to protect our digital infrastructure from outside attacks.
The center will be funded by the National Science Foundation, which will be providing the University of Cincinnati with a $4.5 million initial grant. The grant will also go to the university’s academic partners, including the University of California, Davis, the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Virginia, Northeastern University, and the University of Texas at Dallas.
“There are enormous challenges associated with the design, protection and resilience of electronic hardware and embedded systems. Vulnerabilities to cyberattacks can be introduced during design, manufacturing or any stage of the product life cycle. By working with industry and government partners to understand what the real issues are and to ask the right questions, we are helping to address security, assurance and trust across all stages.”
70 companies across the country have already indicated an interest in participating in the research that will be conducted by the center; 26 have signed up as of this writing. The center will work in conjunction with nonprofits and private companies, as well as government agencies. Those involved are expected to pay annual membership fees up to $50,000; these fees will cover the research center’s investigation into the unique needs and vulnerabilities of each organization, as well as specific plans to improve their cybersecurity.
Although the center will offer a comprehensive look at the ins and outs of cybersecurity, one of the key issues experts hope to address is the proliferation of counterfeit circuits and computer chips. Using technology that has been counterfeited could result in disastrous situations regarding weapons, travel, and communication – and it’s a growing concern that engineers hope to tackle soon, with a little help from the research center.