The same week that researchers discovered that cybercriminals collaborated
on two of the nastiest malware operations ever, the good guys opened up a national cybersecurity lab to collaborate on cybersecurity research and testing.
The Cybersecurity Technologies Research Laboratory (or “CTRL” for short--heh, clever) opened today at the Sandia National Laboratory in Livermore, California. So what’s the deal? According to Jim Costa, senior manager of computational sciences and analysis at Sandia, “With CTRL, we can run experiments and talk more freely about a wide range of cyber research activities, and we can do so with a variety of U.S. and international collaborators but without some of the unrelated restrictions that are often associated with a national laboratory.”
CTRL is a secure but open place, where those who have the credentials to get in can freely collaborate, brainstorm, and conduct experiments with other cybersecurity pros. The site’s many programs are funded through various sources and will include office space for academic and industrial partners. Having such a place near Silicon Valley isn’t a bad idea, either.
CTRL's headquarters on the Livermore Valley Open Campus
In a press release, Sandia Labs lays out CTRL’s goals, which are:
-Develop the science and computing foundation necessary for robust cyber security research and development.
-Develop critical relationships to help understand the full range of technical threat concerns facing industry, government (nonclassified) and academia.
-Develop, test and help implement cybersecurity approaches in real-world situations.
-Promote the various technical domains that support the advancement of cybersecurity, essential to the security and stability of the U.S. and the world.
-Develop political and social awareness of the real, imminent threat and the consequences posed by cyber exploits and attacks.
-Provide a window to the external world on open cybersecurity and related work throughout Sandia, along with acting as a Bay Area resource for open work performed at Sandia’s New Mexico location.
Never has cybersecurity been so important. The world runs on computer technology and communicates via the Internet, and more people groups in developing (and underdeveloped) nations continue to adopt this technology. Gone are the days when the IT department could keep track of a fleet of desktops that never leave the building. Today, more workers have a notebook and a smartphone, which leave the building on a regular basis and enter the dangerous, unsecure world outside.
More prescient is the fact that the most sophisticated attacks are targeted not at individual users, but at industry and government. Providing a way for cybersecurity professionals to meet with one another in an incubator is a great method of getting a handle on cybersecurity threats and developing solutions.