How adorable: NSA hatches "lablets" at 4 universities

Millions funneled into Science of Security research

College students can probably learn a thing or two about security from the National Security Agency, right?

The NSA hopes so, as it is funding small labs dubbed "lablets" at research universities that will focus on the Science of Security. Carnegie Mellon University, North Carolina State University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Maryland have received millions in grants for the project.

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“All of the work is basic science, without any publication restrictions,” says William Scherlis, professor and director of the Institute for Software Research -- and of the security lablet -- at Carnegie Mellon. “The point of all this is to build a network of SoS thinking.”

This combines computer science, software engineering, behavioral science and economics, and addresses questions in areas such as scalability and human behavior.

The University of Maryland has received $4.5 million over three years to establish its lablet. "Much of the existing work in cybersecurity is reactive, and focuses on designing 'point solutions' to specific problems," says Jonathan Katz, director of the Maryland Cybersecurity Center(MC2) and lead principal investigator of the lablet. "Our goal is to establish mathematical models that can be used to address cybersecurity threats more broadly, and to carry out empirical studies that can help validate those models."

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