DETER Wins 2008 Excellence.Gov Honor

April 14, 2008

Terry Benzel of the USC Information Sciences Institute accepted a national award from the American Council for Technology (ACT) and its Industry Advisory Council on behalf of the DETER project she co-directs.

Funded by the Department of Homeland Security's Command, Control, and Interoperability Division, DETER is a partnership between ISI, the University of California, Berkeley, and Sparta, Inc.

DETER (an acronym for DEfense Technology Experimental Research) "provides the cyber security research community with a testbed to conduct repeatable experiments in a safe and realistic environment," per the description in the program for the March 31 Washington DC Excellence.Gov honors event.

The event also honored 19 other projects, chosen by a blue- ribbon 25-judge committee drawn from a wide range of government and industrial organization. More than 300 representatives of government and industry attended the ceremony, which had as major sponsors Google, Lockheed Martin, Unisys, Nortel, and VMware.

Dr. David Boyd, Director of the Command, Control and Interoperability Division of the DHS nominated DETER. He wrote:

Since 2000, cyber attack traffic has skyrocketed an estimated 150-fold, and cyber threats pose an ever-growing risk to national and economic security. The DETER project targets the critical cyberspace challenges identified in the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace-the integrity, availability, and reliability of networks across the Nation.


DETER core group. click on image for larger view.

In order to successfully advance cyber security defenses against computer network attacks-worms, viruses, and distributed denial of service-the Nation needs an effective way to evaluate new defensive network security mechanisms. Today, these evaluations face roadblocks: Lack of scientific rigor; the absence of relevant and representative network data; inadequate models of defense mechanisms; and inadequate network models (both the background and attack traffic data).

Network models represent a particularly difficult challenge due to the complexity of interactions among traffic, topology, and protocols.

The DETER project is essential to the Nation's ability to address these challenges. DETER's experimental testbed provides developers and researches with an important opportunity to thoroughly test new technologies intended to protect the Nation's critical infrastructure. ...

The American Council for Technology (ACT) is a non-profit educational organization established in 1979 to assist government in acquiring and using information technology resources effectively and efficiently. Working with all levels of government, ACT provides education, programming, and networking opportunities that enhance and advance the government IT profession.

In 1989 ACT established the Industry Advisory Council (IAC) to bring industry and government executives together to exchange information, support professional development, improve communications, and build partnership and trust, thereby enhancing government's ability to serve the nation. ACT and IAC work together to provide an objective, professional and ethical forum where government and industry leaders can collaborate on addressing common issues towards a shared vision.


DETER awardees and sponsors: (from left) Karl Levitt - NSF, Jennifer Mekis - DHS, Anthony Joseph -UC Berkeley, Terry Benzel - ISI, Doug Maughan -DHS, Trent DePersia, DHS.