Networks

Lab seeks partners for Network Mapping System

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One of the country's top high-performance computing labs is turning to private industry to license a powerful network analysis tool it developed.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is offering companies the opportunity to collaborate on its Network Mapping System (NeMS) with the potential to license intellectual property rights, develop pilot programs and commercialize the system, according to a notice posted on FedBizOpps on Nov. 25.

Cloud computing, virtualization, and the growing use of wireless and mobile devices are making networks more complex and creating bigger targets for electronic threats. The risks to increasingly vulnerable IT operations have spurred heavy investment in security staff and technologies to identify, analyze and protect computing infrastructures. Officials at Lawrence Livermore say network mapping can give IT managers more specific information to help them monitor and protect networks.

Celeste Matarazzo, a cybersecurity researcher at the lab's Center for Applied Scientific Computing, told FCW that the Department of Homeland Security has been seeking backing for the tool from technology companies and financial institutions. DHS is using NeMS for its Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program for fortifying computer networks and systems.

NeMS will be one of the emerging technologies spotlighted during the DHS Cyber Security Division's Transition to Practice for Investors, Integrators and IT Companies event in Washington on Dec. 18.

Matarazzo said NeMS can help users gain insight into their networks without extensive preparation and without compromising the security of a mapped network. It is a software-based network characterization and discovery tool that constructs visual representations of networks based on observed behavior. It uses active mapping, passive network traffic analysis and host discovery techniques to characterize the network environment.

Previously known as Net Mapper, NeMS harnesses Lawrence Livermore's Everest visualization system to analyze networks. NeMS and Everest can be used separately for specific applications, but when strapped together, they can provide continuing network situational awareness, lab officials say.

One of NeMS' strengths is a flexible architecture that allows deployment in a wide variety of customer-specific applications, Matarazzo said. NeMS was developed in the lab's high-performance computing environment, but it is scalable to work in almost any environment.

"It can be dialed from 0 to 11, depending on the user's needs," she said.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer covering acquisition, procurement and homeland security. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.

Reader comments

Thu, Dec 5, 2013

Does it ship the results directly back to NSA, or is that a feature to be added later?

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