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[] NSF grants target cybersecurity research projects

NSF grants target cybersecurity research projects

By Alice Lipowicz
Staff Writer

The National Science Foundation awarded $36 million in grants for
cybersecurity research projects to protect computer operations at
homes, offices and within critical infrastructure networks. The grants
are part of the foundation's 2005 Cyber Trust program.

The awards include $15 million for two new cybersecurity academic
centers: $7.5 million to develop IT for trustworthy voting systems at
Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and $7.5 million to design,
build and validate a secure IT infrastructure for the next-generation
electric power grid at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

"These two centers represent opportunities to find solutions for
urgent national problems," said Carl Landwehr, coordinator of the
foundation's Cyber Trust program. Each center will receive
approximately $1.5 million per year for five years.

At Johns Hopkins, computer science professor Avi Rubin will direct A
Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable, Auditable and Transparent
Elections (Accurate), a collaborative project involving six
institutions. Accurate will investigate software architectures,
tamper-resistant hardware, cryptographic protocols and verification
systems as applied to electronic voting systems. It also will look at
system usability and the interaction between public policy and

The second collaborative center will be led by William Sanders,
director of the Information Trust Institute at the University of
Illinois. The new Trustworthy Cyber Infrastructure for the Power Grid
project will bring together four institutions to develop technologies
to carry critical information to grid operators in the event of cyber
attacks and accidental failures. The Energy and Homeland Security
departments also are expected to help fund and manage the center.

The NSF also will distribute awards of at least $200,000 each to 34
other research projects to ensure authenticity of digital media;
develop automated defenses against cyber attacks, including viruses,
worms and spyware; extract information from large databases without
compromising individual privacy; protect businesses from
denial-of-service attacks; and safeguard children’s online
transactions by increasing parental consent.

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