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PITTSBURGH, PA, July 8, 1999--The Software Engineering Institute (SEI), a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) operated by Carnegie Mellon University, has announced plans to expand the CERT Coordination Center (CERT/CC). The CERT/CC, established at the SEI in 1988 as the world’s first computer emergency response team for Internet security incidents, is a widely acknowledged world leader in the rapidly expanding field of computer security. The CERT/CC has experienced rapid growth as the U.S. economy and critical infrastructures have become increasingly dependent on computer networks. However, congressional spending ceilings imposed by the SEI’s FFRDC contract and space limitations have constrained the CERT/CC’s ability to meet the growing demand for its expertise. With the support of Carnegie Mellon University and the SEI’s Department of Defense sponsor, the SEI plans to create a bigger, better CERT/CC as a separate unit of Carnegie Mellon. The new CERT/CC will remain closely connected to the research resources and culture of the SEI, building on the SEI’s experience and accomplishments to provide high-quality services and technology to both the public and private sectors.
The new CERT/CC will be well positioned to lead a national effort to improve network security. The federal government plans to establish its first information sharing and analysis center (ISAC) and believes that the CERT/CC could be an appropriate location for this ISAC. An ISAC serves as the mechanism for gathering, analyzing, appropriately sanitizing, and disseminating information about vulnerabilities, threats, intrusions, and anomalies among industry and government. Establishment of the CERT/CC in Pittsburgh as the first ISAC and the model for all future ISACs would be an important event for the Western Pennsylvania region as well as for the nation’s security. It is expected that a bigger, better CERT will generate spin-off companies and attract cyber-security researchers and industry partners to Western Pennsylvania. The Rand Corporation, for example, has expressed strong interest in coming to Pittsburgh to collaborate with the CERT/CC.
In a recent visit to the SEI, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) identified cyber security as a fundamental national-security problem and expressed his support for the SEI’s plans for expansion of the CERT/CC. The CERT/CC has the knowledge, experience, and expertise to lead and help integrate U.S. efforts to combat cyber terrorism, improve the survivability of our networked systems, and safeguard the nation’s critical infrastructures.