In a constantly evolving technological environment, the cybersecurity research and development (R&D) community is essential to creating responsible and innovative advancements that will keep the nation secure.
To develop advanced knowledge, test products and technologies and prove the utility of research in large-scale network environments, the R&D community requires real-world data. To meet this need, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Cyber Security Division (CSD) has created the Information Marketplace for Policy and Analysis of Cyber-risk & Trust (IMPACT), a publicly available electronic library to provide the industrial and academic research community access to infrastructure and event data. The data housed within the IMPACT tool will facilitate new developments and further enhancements, testing theories and workable solutions to mitigate or prevent cyber threats.
IMPACT supports Internet infrastructure risk research by partnering with academia, industry and government to make available large-scale datasets. These researchers use IMPACT datasets to accelerate the development of cyber security solutions.
“The system serves as a matchmaker between data supply and demand and a mediator for the actual data provisioning,” said IMPACT Program Manager Erin Kenneally. “It lowers the barrier to entry for researchers in the U.S. and international partner countries to find and contribute data for cyber security R&D. In this way, IMPACT is able to continually add new data that is responsive to cyber security risk management and position the information for the widest, most beneficial utilization.”
IMPACT offers a unique value proposition: freely available, curated and high-value research data that is supported by a streamlined legal framework and centralized coordination. The centralized brokering and distributed provisioning among the data providers, data hosts and researchers addresses the operational, administrative and trust challenges that impede sustainable and scalable data-sharing in the cyber security R&D community.
“The program’s name reflects its three pillars—an ‘Information Marketplace’ that is enabling ‘Policy and Analysis’ that addresses ‘Cyber-risk and Trust.’ These pillars are implemented via five component data-sharing requirements: metadata indexing; data matchmaking; tools matchmaking; administrative, legal, and ethical brokering; and social networking” said Kenneally.
The catalog of IMPACT data and tools reflects a problem-driven approach to data-sharing for R&D. For instance, the curation and analysis of empirical network layer data has helped researchers to understand and develop tools to counter Internet censorship by nation-states as well as outages caused by natural disasters. By translating machine-level data to real-world events, IMPACT is empowering advanced knowledge and development in cyber security research.
Strategically, IMPACT is striving to grow organically by creating a “virtuous cycle” in which researchers who use its resources and produce valuable data and analysis can throw it back over the wall to enrich the catalog of data that is made available to the cyber security R&D ecosystem, added Kenneally.