Members of the public can now use Department of Homeland Security (DHS) data in order to develop solutions to cyber threats.

DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Cyber Security Division (CSD) on Monday released a statement on the agency’s website announcing the Information Marketplace for Policy and Analysis of Cyber-risk & Trust (IMPACT), an online library offering infrastructure and event data. The goal of IMPACT is to provide a platform for researchers to access datasets so they can test theories and create solutions for cyber threats.

“The system serves as a matchmaker between data supply and demand and a mediator for the actual data provisioning,” said IMPACT Program Manager Erin Kenneally in the statement. “It lowers the barrier to entry for researchers in the U.S. and international partner countries to find and contribute data for cybersecurity R&D. In this way, IMPACT is able to continually add new data that is responsive to cybersecurity risk management and position the information for the widest, most beneficial utilization.”

IMPACT offers free, high-value datasets that are bolstered by a legal framework and centralized coordination. The centralized coordination of information among data providers, data hosts, and researchers sidesteps the administrative challenges that sometimes hinder data sharing in the cyber community.

“The program’s name reflects its three pillars—an Information Marketplace that is enabling Policy and Analysis that addresses Cyber-risk and Trust. These pillars are implemented via five component data-sharing requirements: metadata indexing; data matchmaking; tools matchmaking; administrative, legal, and ethical brokering; and social networking,” Kenneally said.

The datasets offer a problem-driven approach for members of the Research and Development (R&D) community. The platform translates machine data into real-world situations. For example, IMPACT’s catalog includes empirical network layer data that has helped researchers develop tools to combat Internet censorship by nation-states.

Kenneally said the goal is for IMPACT to flourish through continued sharing and collaboration.

“Strategically, IMPACT is striving to grow organically by creating a ‘virtuous cycle’ in which researchers who use its resources and produce valuable data and analysis can throw it back over the wall to enrich the catalog of data that is made available to the cybersecurity R&D ecosystem,” Kenneally said.

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Eleanor Lamb
Eleanor Lamb
Eleanor Lamb is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Big Data, FITARA, Homeland Security, Education, Workforce Issues, and Civilian Agencies.