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New Software Security Center to Evaluate Cyber Threats

S2ERC  “We will attract high-energy, creative researchers to work with non-academic practitioners in a wide range of industries and government sites, who provide guidance, feedback and funding," said Eric Burger, director of the new Security and Software Engineering Research Center.

May 6, 2013 – A new Security and Software Engineering Research Center (S2ERC) that will research cyber threats and other security and technology issues will be launched at Georgetown later this month.

Eric Burger, research professor of computer science, will serve as director of the new center, which will have its first face-to-face meeting on May 28.

“The S2ERC center is a win-win,” says Burger, also founder and director of the recently established Georgetown Center for Secure Communications (GCSC). “We will attract high-energy, creative researchers to work with non-academic practitioners in a wide range of industries and government sites, who provide guidance, feedback and funding. Our researchers gain access to real-world data and experienced practitioners who can guide them, while affiliate companies gain immediate access to innovative research.”

The May 28 meeting will address the Cyber Threat Intelligence Exchange Ecosystem, a project Burger is working on through the center that he says “makes the goal of threat information sharing a reality.”

Creative Researchers

Burger received a planning grant last year from the National Science Foundation to establish a S2ERC site on campus. Since then, he’s worked with fellow computer science professor Cal Newport and several companies in related industries to begin research projects in the security and software fields.

“This is exactly the kind of center that would benefit a Georgetown student interested in the cross-section of practical, applied policy and in-depth research,” Burger explains.

In addition to studying cyber threats, the center focuses on social, policy and corporate governance issues related to secure communications, as well as technologies to support network provenance, multilevel secure communications, network emulation and trust.

national priority

The Cyber Threat Intelligence Exchange Ecosystem is a priority of President Obama, whose executive order and policy directive recently required the federal government to share cyber threat intelligence with the private sector.

Burger is working with Catherine Lotrionte, director of Georgetown’s Institute for Law, Science and Global Security and visiting assistant professor of government and foreign service, on the project.

Newport is working with a major network provider on ways to allow enterprises to strategically share information about potential threats to other entities, taking over for Micah Sherr and Clay Shields of the computer science department, who were previously working on the project.

Significant Research Capability

“I am pleased to have a new center that fills a need Georgetown can uniquely satisfy – bringing government, industry, and academia together in the heart of the nation's capital,” says Spiros Dimolitsas, Georgetown’s senior vice president for research and chief technology officer. “The fact that we can attract participation from industry and government shows that our multiyear plan to build a significant research capability in the computer science department and a campus-wide cyber initiative is now bearing fruit.”

Current industry affiliates the new Georgetown center will work with include Symantec, Check Point Software Technologies, Edgewater Networks and IID.

Visit the S2ERC website to learn more.

Georgetown University37th and O Streets, N.W., Washington D.C. 20057(202) 687.0100

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