[ISN] Government Cybersecurity Research Explores Technological, Human Capabilities

http://www.afcea.org/content/?q=government-cybersecurity-research-explores-technological-human-capabilities-0 By Robert K. Ackerman AFCEA Signal March 1, 2015 Challenges ranging from teaching people new ways of learning languages to providing security for homemade computer chips head the priority list for researchers at the National Security Agency. The exponential expansion of technology capabilities is perhaps matched by the growth of potential conflict areas, and both are increasing the issues faced by the agency’s research community. Traditional skills such as translating communications intercepts now must take into account that any one of thousands of languages spoken on Earth could be vital if a new trouble spot flares up. The ubiquity of networked devices, especially in the context of the emerging Internet of Things, provides its own unique cybersecurity challenges. And, the near future may see individuals making chips at home for their own customized communications devices, which also would need to be secured. These are some of the tasks facing Dr. Deborah A. Frincke, director of research at the National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS). Frincke points out that hers is the only group within the intelligence community that has a large body of long-, medium- and short-term research. In addition to conducting contract research with academia and industry, it also has a sizeable investment in long-term staff. “We have a very large body of professional researchers who have spent their entire careers here and also those we hire more later [in their] careers … and that is unique,” she offers. “We don’t see that elsewhere—that investment in a long-term body of internal researchers.” This institutional knowledge provides a significant advantage, she continues. With the research directorate inside the agency, it “sits right at the table’ with the senior leaders of the agency. Leadership hears about technological advances at the same time it is learning about worldwide issues, she points out, which enables real-time coordination of research with mission needs. […]