SBIR Research Project Will Develop a Visual Analytics System for Visualizing Mobile Cyber Assets
Northport, NY – January 12, 2007 – The Secure Decisions division of Applied Visions, Inc. has been awarded the second phase of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) research contract, under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, to improve the effectiveness of computer network managers in detecting and managing mobile cyber assets that are connected to the networks under their control. Secure Decisions will research and develop a Mobile Cyber Asset Tracking system, called MeerCAT, that will provide an integrated visual analytics environment for analysis of mobile cyber assets from a variety of data sources.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA, www.darpa.mil) is the central research and development organization for the Department of Defense. It manages and directs selected basic and applied research and development projects for DoD, and pursues research and technology where both risk and payoff are very high and success may provide dramatic advances for traditional military roles and missions. This award was made under their SBIR solicitation entitled “Situational Awareness of Computing Assets Outside of Direct Control.”
As wireless networking has become near ubiquitous, the ability to discover, identify, and locate mobile cyber assets is becoming increasingly important to information security auditors, penetration testers, and network administrators. MeerCAT is a visual analytics system that visualizes wireless transmitter locations, their security attributes, and the relationships among transmitters.
MeerCAT’s mission is to support the analytic process of information security auditors, penetration vulnerability testers, and network administrators after performing a wardrive or site survey. To do so, in incorporates both information and geographic visualizations into a single visual analytics system that security practitioners can use for post hoc, interactive analysis of wireless discovery data.
Secure Decisions will develop a system to provide situational awareness of the geographic location, mission, social communication networks, and vulnerabilities of cyber assets. To provide situational awareness of cyber assets, the following types of data will be integrated into a single, interactive visualization system:
§ Geographic data: a data source for providing geographic location of cyber assets, which is likely to include a variable degree of uncertainty depending on the type of data;
§ Network data: a data source for providing network topology (the map of the network) and the social communication patterns between cyber assets;
§ Security data: a data source for providing security state related information, such as the vulnerabilities of cyber assets;
§ Mission data: a data source for providing mission-related data, and linking this mission data to individual cyber assets.
Secure Decisions is working with a number of providers of related technology, specifically in the area of automated wireless discovery tools. In particular, MeerCAT will interface with new discovery technology being developed by the Naval Research Laboratory, as well as from several commercial wireless intrusion detection system (WIDS) vendors.
About the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Programs
Established in 1982 by the Small Business Innovation Development Act, the SBIR program allocates a percentage of Federal agencies’ extramural research and development spending for grants to U.S. small businesses. Grants are awarded in phases as research progresses and results are demonstrated, culminating in development of working prototypes with commercial potential. The SBIR program goals are to:
§ Stimulate technological innovation;
§ Use small business to meet federal research and development (R&D) needs;
§ Foster and encourage participation by minorities and disadvantaged persons in technological innovation;
§ Increase private-sector commercialization innovations derived from federal R&D.
About Secure Decisions and Applied Visions
The Secure Decisions division of Applied Visions, Inc. (AVI) focuses on research and development in areas related to national security including information assurance, infrastructure protection, cyber security, and intelligence analysis. Secure Decisions provides decision-makers with tools to analyze massive amounts of data for more accurate and timely decisions; SecureScope™ and VIAssist™ visualization products are two such tools for analysis of cyber security data.
AVI provides software engineering and research services for government and commercial customers, specializing in visual solutions to complex defense, national security, and business problems. AVI serves DoD, DARPA, DHS, the intelligence community, and prominent technology and Fortune 1000 firms.