Wednesday, September 26, 2012

NSF Awards $10 Million Grant to ICSI and Collaborators to Study Human Element of Cybercrime

The International Computer Science Institute (ICSI), along with the University of California, San Diego and George Mason University have received $10 million in a 5-year grant from the National Science Foundation to examine the roles played by economics and social interactions in Internet security. While security research has focused primarily on those technologies that defend against Internet attacks, the new project led by ICSI Project Leader and UC Berkeley Professor Vern Paxson and Stefan Savage of UC San Diego concentrates on the profit motive in most Internet attacks along with the complex marketplaces supporting them and the relational interdependence of cybercriminals involved in such attacks.
“During our earlier work on analyzing the factors that go into making spam a profitable form of cybercrime, we were deeply struck by the significance of the human side of the equation,” said Paxson, “Non-technical considerations span business concerns, issues of trust-amongst-thieves, and the rise of social media as both a new domain that cybercrime is expanding into, and a way to track interactions amongst the criminals themselves.”
This large multi-institutional award comes in the form of a "Frontier" project, titled Beyond Technical Security: Developing an Empirical Basis for Socio-Economic Perspectives as proposed by Prof. Paxson and TRUST investigators Chris Hoofnagle and Deirdre Mulligan among others.

See NSF award announcement and ICSI press release for more information.