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Carnegie Mellon U, University of Pennsylvania Partner To Secure Commercial Tech for DARPA

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU) CyLab and the University of Pennsylvania will explore ways to improve the security of commercial projects used by the United States Military, thanks to a four-year $3.9 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The United States Department of Defense uses commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology, such as routers or printers, "for everything from information technologies to retrofitting the F-15E Fighter with new digital video recording equipment," according to a CMU news release.

"COTS consists of complex stacks where a weakness at any level can endanger the entire system," said CyLab Researcher David Brumley, in a prepared statement.

"For example, vendors or potentially malicious employees can remotely log in with the default backdoor passwords and hackers can break in via vulnerabilities," Brumley added. "We are working to identify the attack surface of the system, and we propose that achieving these goals requires a holistic systems approach."

Located in Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering, CyLab has campuses in Silicon Valley and Pittsburgh. CyLab "establishes public-private partnerships to develop new technologies for measurable, secure, available, trustworthy and sustainable computing and communications systems," according to information released by the program.

CyLab's areas of expertise are technology transfers to and from the public and private sectors, preparation of information assurance professionals, and awareness programs and tools.

More information about CyLab is available at

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].

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