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DHS S&T Awards USC Information Sciences Institute $1.8M Contract for Cyber Security Research

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DHS S&T Awards USC Information Sciences Institute $1.8M Contract for Cyber Security Research

Release Date: 
September 23, 2015

For Immediate Release
DHS Science & Technology Press Office
Contact: John Verrico, (202) 254-2385

Washington, DC – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) awarded a contract to the University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute (USC-ISI) to create technology to defend against large and sophisticated Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.  The $1.8 million contract titled “Software dEfined Networking Security Service (SENSS): Software Defined Network (SDN) Security Service” was awarded through Broad Agency Announcement HSHQDC-14-R- B00017 and is part of the DHS S&T Cyber Security Division’s larger Distributed Denial of Service Defenses (DDoSD) program.

DDoS attacks are used to render key resources unavailable.  A classic DDoS attack might disrupt an organization’s website and temporarily block a consumer’s ability to access the site. A more strategic attack makes a key resource inaccessible during a critical period.  Prominent DDoS attacks have been conducted against financial institutions, news organizations, providers of internet security resources, and government agencies. Any organization that relies on network resources is considered a potential target, and the current environment offers many advantages to the attacker.

S&T's Cyber Security Division is partnering with the United Kingdom's Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory on this effort.

“Securing our nation’s networks in the event of a DDoS attack will ensure that businesses keep operating,” said DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Reginald Brothers. “S&T is researching ways to use existing hardware to mitigate DDoS attacks to create faster solutions.”

USC-ISI will develop a generic interface between Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other networks for attack diagnosis and mitigation, which enables Internet communications. Called SENSS (Software dEfiNed Security Service), this technology will allow end-users to observe and control their own traffic and routes within the ISP, helping them to anticipate a DDoS attack. The USC-ISI proposal suggests that deployment at 30 leading ISPs may eliminate 94% of attacks.

“Unfortunately, DDoS attacks are now common occurrences and can have a significant impact on the victim,” said Dr. Dan Massey, Cyber Security Division DDoSD Program Manager. “DHS S&T is focused on developing cost-effective solutions that can transition from research labs into daily operations.  The USC-ISI effort is one example. ”

With the success of launching this R&D project, S&T looks forward to securing the nation’s networks by anticipating and defending against DDoS attacks.

For more information, visit scitech.dhs.gov/cyber-research, or email SandT-Cyber-Liaison@hq.dhs.gov.

 

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