Five Grants to Celebrate Computer Security Day

Computers may bring many benefits, but it is also important to remember the risks that are associated with the online world. Considering that your personal computer may contain a lot of privileged information, it is crucial to practice good computer security. In our fast-moving, technologically advanced world, so much of our lives are on our laptops. This can include things like banking information, work details, and business-related data and finances.

The risks that can occur on your computer are vast and include spyware, malware, ransomware, and many more. According to PurpleSec, a cyber security company in the DC Metro area, 92 percent of malware is delivered by email. The organization also notes that 230,000 new malware samples are produced every day.

GrantWatch has a category specifically for technology grants on its website. And since Nov. 30 is Computer Security Day, GrantWatch has decided to share five grants below that fund research or projects related to cybersecurity.

Five Grants Related to Computer Security

  1. There are grants available to U.S. IHE’s to provide scholarships for undergraduate and gradute cybersecurity students.
  2. Opportunity for USA, Canada, and International cybersecurity startups to participate in an accelerator program.
  3. Grants to Massachusetts public school districts and municipalities for computer security training programs.
  4. And there are also grants available to U.S. nonprofits and IHE’s for projects related to computer security.
  5. Finally, there are grants available for U.S. and Israel scientists for collaborative projects addressing internet security.

Computer Scientist Gets Grant to Protect Private Data in Code

Dr. Shiyi Wei, the assistant professor of computer science at The University of Texas at Dallas, has received a grant to protect private data in software. Wei is creating tools to prevent cyber attacks by identifying and fixing coding errors before deploying the software. And now Wei has been awarded $458,849 from the National Science Foundation to improve static analysis which is a tool that examines software for flaws that would create security vulnerabilities.

“When you have a bug, or error, in a software application, it leaves the chance for attacks,” Wei said. “Our goal is to make sure that errors, especially critical errors, can be detected before the deployment of the code or as early as possible in the process so they can’t be exploited by bad users, which could cause very severe consequences.”

Coding Errors Could Lead to Data & Cybersecurity Risks

Code tells all of the different functions in software what to do, and even minor errors could be disastrous. This complex set of instructions can be written in various coding languages, and there is potential for human errors. And since computer science is rather young, there is no single standard for coding development. Wei points out that this can lead to mistakes present in software code development. The initial tools will specifically focus on android, with the hope of applying solutions more broadly.

“Our goal is to help users figure out which option or combination of options to use to take advantage of the full potential of the tools available,” Wei said.

Data Protection Made Possible

Here’s a bit of how this all works. One can test the software using statical analysis programs made up of algorithms that scan the software to search for vulnerabilities. The issue can be knowing which statistical analysis tools to use. Part of Wei’s research specifically focuses on improving the machine learning capabilities to automatically create a statistical analysis tool depending on the type of program needed. On the other hand, funding will also ensure the tools themselves do not have bugs or coding issues. This will mean creating a more systematic process to ensure that the programs are bug-free.

So, what can you do on your own to keep your security and information safe? Here is a checklist just for Community Security Day:
  1. Enable Windows Update.
  2. Install and keep running antivirus software.
  3. Turn on Windows Firewall.
  4. Keep all software updated. 
  5. Always use strong passwords.
  6. Don’t share passwords and don’t write them down. 
  7. Set your computer up to require a password.
  8. Remove unused programs.
  9. Secure your wireless network. 
  10. Back up critical data. 
  11. Use caution when browsing the Internet. 
  12. I log off the computer when I’m not using it.
  13. My web browser does not store or remember my passwords.
  14. Periodically remove temporary Internet files.

Try this list to ensure that your computer and all information are always safe and secure! You can also celebrate and share these tips by using the #ComputerSecurityDay hashtag on social media!

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