The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, Dec. 1, 2009, that Northrop Grumman is partnering with three university IT think tanks to supercharge cyber-security research and threat mitigation.

The global security services and consulting company announced in a National Press Club briefing that day an endeavor with Carnegie Mellon's CyLab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab and Purdue's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security to form the new Northrop Grumman Cybersecurity Research Consortium.

The consortium will sponsor 10 projects and grant graduate fellowships in the first phase of a multimillion dollar effort, according to the security publication Dark Reading.

Robert Brammer, CTO in the Northrop Grumman for Information Systems group, said that modern technology threats are so intense that cyber-security forces must band together to remediate problems.

"By combining the creative intellectual freedoms of academia with the full-spectrum capabilities within Northrop Grumman, we can accelerate the pace of taking novel ideas to significant application," he said. "We have an obligation to our clients and our nation to invest in new technologies to get ahead of the cyber-security threat. This consortium will serve to organize some important U.S. organizations to help increase our nation's security in cyber-space."

No one mentioned specific breaches, but Brammer said security problems will grow as global Internet use increases 10 to 15 times by 2015. Speakers from the academic community did, however, speak about upcoming projects and those in development.

Carnegie Mellon's efforts will include working to minimize vulnerable attack windows in software and another project on real-time forensics. MIT will try to increase computer intelligence to be able to detect when something is right or wrong in the system, and Purdue research will encompass ways to investigate mobile devices like cell phones and PDAs for corruption.

Hilton Collins, Staff Writer Hilton Collins  |  GT Staff Writer

By day, Hilton Collins is a staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines who covers sustainability, cybersecurity and disaster management issues. By night, he’s a sci-fi/fantasy fanatic, and if he had to choose between comic books, movies, TV shows and novels, he’d have a brain aneurysm. He can be reached at hcollins@govtech.com and on @hiltoncollins on Twitter.