Defense Cybersecurity Innovation Summit Round Up

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Defense Cyberspace SummitProgram officials from DARPA, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and The Mitre Corporation spoke at the Defense Cybersecurity Innovation Summit on July 19 at WeWork in Tysons about ways to fund cybersecurity startups and entrepreneurs.

DARPA’s Cyber-Hunting at Scale program official Phil Sage kicked off the evening with a presentation about what type of technologies the program seeks to develop. He explained how the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to develop “data-driven cyber-hunting tools for real-time cyber threat detection, characterization, and protection within enterprise scale networks.”

DHS program manager Ann Cox works in the Cyber Security Division of the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency. She spoke about the cybersecurity threats DHS seeks to protect Americans from and agency’s efforts to engage commercial cybersecurity companies.

PARADINE is one of those programs. PARADINE stands for Predict, Assess Risk, Identify (and Migrate) Disruptive Internet-scale Network Events. Cox described how DHS has made PARADINE a part of a 5-year Broad Agency Announcement that companies can apply to receive funding.

The third member of the panel, Frank Duff, spoke about the program The MITRE Corporation has developed to connect commercial cybersecurity companies to federal labs to encourage advances in R&D. He highlight MITRE’s Leveraging External Transformational Solutions (LETS) program and how it identifies ways of enabling operational deployment through the assistance of MITRE subject matter expertise.

Following their presentations, the panelists spoke about the new technologies the government needs to invest in to counter growing threats ranging from ransomware to attacks on critical infrastructure. Duff said attribution continues to be a serious concern, and the difficulty in attributing where attacks are coming from.

Cox said government agencies need to focus on technologies that can predict attacks. Responding to attacks and known threats is no longer sustainable. The advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning has helped make predicting attacks against certain systems possible.

Sage warned that AI advancements can work both ways. Many hackers are now using machine learning techniques to advance the sophistication of cyber attacks making it even harder to protect against.

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