• Norwich gets contract for cyber war game
    August 22,2013

    The Associated Press

    NORTHFIELD - A nonprofit organization controlled by Vermont's Norwich University is getting a $9.9 million federal contract to continue work on a cyber-warfare gaming system that helps financial institutions and others learn how to respond to attacks on their computer networks, officials said Thursday.

    Norwich's Applied Research Institute will use the money to further refine the program so more private and public groups can plan for cyberattacks through coordinated exercises.

    The challenge of learning to respond to cyberattacks is there won't necessarily be a concrete action that is easy to recognize, such as when emergency responders stage mock accidents or the military stages an attack to test their response, said Phil Susmann, the president of the Research Institute.

    "In a cyber event, there's not going to be `there was a bomb, respond," Susmann said. Instead, it could show up as an apparently innocuous computer problem or, in the financial sector, an issue with trading.

    The program, known as the Distributed Environment for Critical Infrastructure Decision-making Exercises program, or DECIDE, helps organizations recognize that something is happening and respond appropriately.

    "The first time they encounter these types of circumstances shouldn't be in a live event. It should take place so that you can make sure that your response plans are adaptable and flexible," Susmann said.

    Norwich will use the money from the latest contract to continue developing the system used by financial institutions and other organizations to respond to attacks on their computer systems.

    Advancements in DECIDE will allow multiple organizations to take part in cyberattack simulations. Earlier versions have already been used to simulate electronic attacks.

    Norwich University offers undergraduate degrees in computer security and information assurance and a master's degree program in information assurance, but the Research Institutes is a separate nonprofit organization controlled by the university, said Norwich President Richard Schneider.

    The latest contract is expected to create about a dozen jobs.

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