Schools plan security test lab

McAfee Research was selected last week as the industry partner for three universities to round out the team constructing a large-scale cybersecurity test bed that will help develop new defenses against computer worms and viruses.

The three-year, $10.8 million project involves teams at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute and Pennsylvania State University. It's funded through grants from the National Science Foundation and the Homeland Security Department.

Although worms and viruses increasingly pose a threat to the Internet and its systems, there is no test that can simulate how events on such large-scale networks. The program was started to create such a test.

McAfee, the research arm of security vendor Network Associates Technology Inc., will provide design help on two separate programs, the Cyber Defense Technology Experimental Research (DETER) network and Evaluation Methods for Internet Security.

DETER will eventually consist of 1,000 computers with multiple network interface cards and simulate the entire Internet, from servers and hubs to the desktop, without an actual connection to the Internet.

It will serve as a shared laboratory in which researchers from government, industry and academia can put their security technologies to the test.

In addition to the income from the contract award, McAfee officials expect the work they do with partners to help them develop new tools that the company can provide for future customers, said Erik Mettala, vice president of McAfee Research.

Brian Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.


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