Cybersecurity

As modern society increasingly depends on computer networks and data to provide services and goods essential to our well-being, there is a growing need to ensure the trustworthiness of information systems. Examples abound of real-world critical breaches into public and private data and computer systems.

The Information Trust Institute, housed at CSL, provides national leadership in the creation of trustworthy critical applications and cyber infrastructures. In doing so, ITI is creating computer systems, software, and networks that society can depend on to be secure, dependable (reliable and available), correct, safe, private, and survivable. ITI aims to design trustworthy systems from the ground up and validate systems that are intended to be trustworthy.

Our society cannot function without critical infrastructure systems, such as energy, transportation, first response, finance, and telecommunications. These systems, in turn, are increasingly reliant on cyber networks. Researchers in ITI and at partner institutions are pursuing research and education that enhance the resiliency of the nation’s critical infrastructures and the businesses and public entities that own and operate those assets and systems. One significant effort in this space is the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute (CIRI), which is exploring the organizational, policy, business, and technical dimensions of critical infrastructure’s dependence on cyber assets.

 

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The U.S. economy and those of other modern societies simply cannot function without stable and reliable sources of energy and secure networks to distribute this energy. For years, ITI researchers have done significant work in SCADA systems for the oil & gas industry as well as research in securing IT networks for nuclear plants. Indeed, it is through ITI’s work to secure the nation’s current power grid as well as its future incarnation as a “smart grid” that ITI has emerged as one of the nation’s leaders in the field of cyber security. ITI is closely working with the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and key industry partners on several major initiatives, including the Cyber Resilient Energy Delivery Consortium (CREDC).

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The development of smart devices to securely collect and share patient data is an important issue if we are to empower patients to take charge of their own health. Similarly, the ability to securely share electronic medical records would translate not only into better care but also into hundreds of millions of dollars in savings each year. These objectives cannot be achieved if information networks and related tools cannot be trusted. Research in the area includes investigations into improving privacy and security, understanding and addressing social and regulatory concerns, and reducing the risk of errors. ITI researchers and their partners have been developing techniques to reduce the risks that pose barriers to the meaningful use of health information technology.

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