Apr 23 2015

Federal Cybersecurity Research Funding Takes A Hit

Whether you are in the private or public sector, odds are when discussing Information Security-specifically, cybersecurity, as it pertains to budgets, and after the spectacle that was the Sony breach…you’d expect funding to be on the rise.

Generally, that’s probably a safe bet.

Except when it’s not, of course. On Wednesday, the government passed a bill that controls research funding for the next two years, covering computer science, global warming and social sciences, among others. The area that suffered a deep cut? That would be the social sciences, which covers human behavior, as that keys in on the so-called 8th layer, the human element in cybersecurity. While computer and information science research goes up, the social science budget suffers a cut of over 40%.

Not everyone feels there is merit in that area of research, but there are a good number of those in security who do value it. The idea of further studying how human behavior can impact security, and how that behavior can be accounted for and better defended against could prove extremely vital in the years to come. No matter how you feel about what was done or why, someone like Edward Snowden cannot do what was done, without the human element.

This slash in National Science Foundation (NSF) funding does not mean research in the field can’t take place-naturally, it will. But with less government money to go around, the emphasis may now be much more firmly on the private sector. Using human behavior to drive how cybersecurity is better deployed could very well be one of the next big things in security improvements; it would seem like that would be worth additional funding, not less.