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Announcing New Awards to Support U.S.-Brazil Collaborative Cybersecurity Research


August 30, 2017

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Research and Development Center on Digital Technologies for Information and Communication (CTIC) of the Brazilian National Research and Educational Network (RNP), with support from the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications (MCTIC), are pleased to announce new awards totaling approximately 3 million U.S. dollars to support five collaborative cybersecurity research projects.

The investment is the result of a dear colleague letter inviting proposals that was announced last October.  The awards are supported by $1,500,000 from NSF and $1,500,000 from RNP/CTIC.  Each award will receive up to $300,000 from NSF and up to $300,000 from RNP/CTIC.  NSF’s funds will support researchers at seven U.S. institutions to collaborate with leading networking and security experts from Brazil, who will be supported by the RNP/CTIC funds.

A list of the NSF-supported projects and a summary of their proposed work follows:

Ethan Katz-Bassett at Columbia University (NSF award no. 1740883) will work with Brazilian collaborators to utilize an existing research testbed called PEERING, which is operated by researchers at the University of Southern California in the U.S. and the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil, to prevent vulnerabilities that arise when devices fool the source of their Internet traffic.  The project will help to provide better security of information routed through the Internet.

A project led by Donald Towsley and Phillipa Gill at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (1740895) includes a partnership with a Brazilian Internet service provider that will provide access to data from thousands of home network connections to create a baseline of network behavior for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.  The collaboration aims to protect privacy and secure home IoT networks against malicious behavior.

Guevara Noubir and Kaushik Chowdhury at Northeastern University (1740907) will collaborate with wireless security experts in Brazil to improve the security and privacy of wearable medical devices.  The team will investigate the use fingerprinting techniques, as well as a novel approach using a body's bioelectric signals generated as biometric authentication to secure mobile and wearable devices and their associated data.

A project bringing together Kirill Levchenko of the University of California-San Diego (1740911) and Guofei Gu of Texas A&M University (1740791) with collaborators in Brazil will address vulnerabilities that are introduced by software-defined networks (SDN) and data planes to help enhance security on this emerging networking paradigm.

Darko Marinov at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1740916) and Atul Prakash at the University of Michigan (1740897) will work with Brazilian colleagues to reinforce security of IoT systems.  The team will deploy an IoT research testbed across institutions in the U.S. and Brazil to test an approach that provides protections to the IoT application, network, and device layers.

The announcement of the U.S.-Brazil bilateral collaborative cybersecurity research awards is timed with a visit by the head of NSF’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering directorate, Jim Kurose, with leadership and staff of MCTIC.  Dr. Kurose met with the Secretary of Information Technology Policy, Maximiliano Martinhão, the staff of the Secretariat, the Minister’s International Office, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and staff of the U.S. embassy in Brasilia, Brazil.  During the meeting, aspects of the bilateral cooperation in cybersecurity and other possibilities for future cooperation were discussed.

NSF has long supported research to enhance cybersecurity. In fiscal year 2016, NSF invested approximately $160 million in cybersecurity research across the agency.

In addition to Brazil, NSF has international research partnerships in cybersecurity and privacy with Israel and the Netherlands.

 

Contributed by: Gera Jochum, gjochum@nsf.gov

Program Contact: Fen Zhao, fzhao@nsf.gov

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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