With the increasing magnitude and sophistication of cyber attacks, cyber warfare has become a major threat to national security. However, the cybersecurity state of the art is still far from providing sufficient protection, not only for Internet enterprise services but also for critical infrastructure services, such as in the financial and energy sectors. With the exponential increase of attack surface and the complete reliance on human analysis and response, the time for detection and mitigation of cyber attacks have been significantly increasing (e.g., can take up to several months). In addition, the cost of deploying cybersecurity has been tremendously increasing as it is becoming very resource and labor intensive.

The Center for Cybersecurity Analytics and Automation (CCAA) has been established under the National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) program. The center is a multi-university and multi-industry consortium currently led by George Mason University, in partnership with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Colorado State University, and a broad membership of industry and government organizations.

The goal of the Center for Cybersecurity Analytics and Automation (CCAA) is to build the critical mass of inter-disciplinary academic researchers and industry partners for addressing current and future challenges in cybersecurity analytics and automation to improve service assurability, security and resiliency of enterprise IT systems, cloud/SDN data centers, and cyber-physical systems by applying innovative analytics and automation solutions.

University Members:

Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers

The Industry–University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) program accelerates the impact of basic research through close relationships between industry innovators, world-class academic teams, and government leaders. IUCRCs are designed to help corporate partners and government agencies connect directly and efficiently with university researchers to conduct high-impact research to meet shared industrial needs in companies of all sizes; enhance U.S. global leadership in driving innovative technology development, and; identify, mentor and develop a diverse high-tech, exceptionally skilled workforce.

Cybersecurity research at UNC Charlotte:

The research program in cybersecurity at UNC Charlotte is recognized by the foremost national agencies in security. The National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity is managed by the National Security Agency (NSA) to establish standards for cybersecurity curriculum and academic and research excellence. UNC Charlotte has been recognized as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education since 2001, and in Cyber Research since that designation was first available in 2008. These recognitions have been continuously granted through the present. The research recognition is based on the quality of peer-reviewed publications in cybersecurity as well as research expertise and impact. Faculty members have a wide range of research expertise across many specialized areas of cybersecurity, privacy and trust. Most activities can be described by one of the following core thrusts:

  • Hardware and Infrastructure security: deals with the security of hardware, networks, and software that provide infrastructural support for the everyday computing needs of businesses and individuals.
  • Privacy and digital citizenship: research includes privacy-preserving data analysis, policies for mobile devices/applications and social networks, policies and ethics for genomic and health data, and research on digital citizenship education for K-12 students.
  • Usable security: concerned with designing security and privacy systems, including access management and policy settings, that can be easily used by people.
  • Security analytics and automation: aims at detecting and mitigating threats facing enterprises, exploring solutions with cyber threat intelligence, adaptive cyber defense, malware analysis, and cyber deception.

This research aims to not only examine core contributions within cybersecurity, but to enable advances in technology and infrastructure that address critical societal issues. Faculty utilize their expertise within domains requiring secure, private, and trustworthy operation such as:

  • Information Infrastructure: developing secure and private infrastructure to accelerate data-driven research and multidisciplinary collaboration.
  • Energy: identifying potential cybersecurity attacks within the power grid and smart energy grid.
  • Manufacturing: developing and implementing unique approaches to improving manufacturing capabilities and information security within the US manufacturing and defense industrial base (M&DIB) and the digital thread that serves as an information conduit throughout the entire US manufacturing supply chain.
  • Cyber-physical systems and Internet of Things: securing Internet-connected devices that interact with the physical world.