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U.S. Department of Homeland Security Announces Partnership with Carnegie Mellon’s CERT Coordination Center

Press Release

PITTSBURGH– Carnegie Mellon University and the Department of Homeland   Security (DHS) today announced a partnership with the university’s CERT®   Coordination Center (CERT/CC) to create US-CERT, a coordination point for prevention,   protection, and response to cyber attacks across the Internet.

The US-CERT will begin as a partnership between the National Cyber Security   Division (NCSD) within DHS and Carnegie Mellon’s CERT /CC. The US-CERT   will grow to include other partnerships with private-sector security vendors   and domestic and international organizations. These groups will work together   to coordinate national and international efforts to prevent cyber attacks, protect   systems, and respond to the effects of cyber attacks across the Internet.

Carnegie Mellon’s CERT/CC was formed in November 1988 within the Software   Engineering Institute (SEI) by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency   (DARPA) after an Internet worm brought 10 percent of Internet-connected systems   to a halt. The SEI is a federally funded research and development center operated   by Carnegie Mellon for the U.S. Department of Defense, the Software Engineering   Institute’s sponsor. The CERT/CC also is affiliated with Carnegie Mellon’s   Cyber Security Laboratory.

Today, Carnegie Mellon’s CERT/CC alerts U.S. industry and computer users   worldwide to potential threats to the security of their systems and provides   information about how to avoid, minimize, or recover from the damage. The center   has played a key role in coordinating responses to major security events such   as the Code Red worm, Melissa virus, and most recently the MS Blaster worm and   the Sobig.F virus.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge called US-CERT “a key element   to our national strategy to combat terrorism and protect our critical infrastructure.”

“The recent cyber attacks such as the Blaster worm and the SoBig virus   highlight the urgent need for an enhanced computer emergency response program   that coordinates national efforts to cyber incidents and attacks,” Ridge   said.

Speaking at a briefing in Washington, D.C. today, Carnegie Mellon University   President Jared L. Cohon expressed enthusiasm for the partnership between the   CERT/CC and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as its potential for   future partnerships with industry and other universities.

“Carnegie Mellon is proud and pleased to have this opportunity to work   with the Department of Homeland Security. We are committed to maintaining our   longstanding leadership in cyber security and to building additional strength   in this critical area,” Cohon said.

“Our nation’s growing use of the Internet for safety critical applications   as well as business transactions, coupled with the increased sophistication   and speed of cyber-attacks increases the risk that cyber-attacks can cause significant   damage in short periods of time,” said Richard D. Pethia, director of   the CERT/CC. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with DHS   and other partners to aggressively and continually improve our nation’s   cyber-security incident response capability.

The Department of Homeland Security said that the creation of a US-CERT was   the first in a series of upcoming announcements on new partnerships and initiatives   within the National Cyber Security Division.

About Carnegie Mellon
  A top national research university, Carnegie Mellon University has one of the   most technologically sophisticated campuses in the world. Carnegie Mellon's   research and education program includes an extensive cyber security laboratory   initiative. The security initiative amplifies and expands on two of the university’s   greatest strengths – a willingness to collaborate across departments and   colleges, and a track record of working closely with government, business, and   other sectors. Carnegie Mellon is a leader in the improvement of information   security and software quality and home to some of the world’s top researchers   in engineering, computer science, public policy, and software engineering. Carnegie   Mellon is home to the Center for Computer and Communications Security (C3S),   a multidisciplinary center established to tackle the challenges related to Internet   security, data storage, and privacy issues. C3S is led by Professor of Electrical   and Computer Engineering Pradeep Khosla.

About the SEI and the CERT/CC
  The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is a federally funded research and   development center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense and operated   by Carnegie Mellon University. The SEI's core purpose is to help others make   measured improvements in their software engineering capabilities. The CERT Coordination   Center (CERT/CC) is located at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI). Following   an Internet worm incident that brought 10 percent of Internet systems to a halt   in November 1988, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) charged   the SEI with setting up a center to coordinate communication among experts during   security emergencies and to help prevent future incidents.