New EU project to boost online security

A new EU-funded project is set to boost our understanding of the new and existing threats to the internet and its users, the WOMBAT (‘Worldwide observatory of malicious behaviours and attack
threats’) project is funded by the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) programme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

The project outcomes will be shared with the relevant stakeholders to help them identify the most serious threats and prioritise their internet security investments accordingly. The project
partners will also work on improving computer security awareness among European citizens.

It is widely acknowledged that the cyber-crime world is becoming more sophisticated and organised, making the job of combating cyber-crime increasingly difficult. A number of initiatives exist
which are monitoring the wide range of threats to our online security. However, privacy issues mean that the owners of these sources of information cannot share them easily, and there is no
framework to rigorously investigate emerging threats using different data sources and viewpoints.

The WOMBAT project brings together some of Europe’s leading internet security experts. Between them, they manage a number of important sources of information on online security threats, such as
Symantec’s Deepsight threat management system, and Eurecom’s worldwide distributed honeypot system.

As well as drawing on these existing sources of data, the project partners will also develop new types of sensors to detect new threats, and also ensure interoperability among the different
information sources.

The project also aims to develop new techniques to characterise attacks and collect malware (software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner’s informed consent),
and also work on new ways to analyse the data to identify the root cause of a group of attacks. The data generated will be used to create models of these activities.

These models will help computer security firms raise security alerts with greater accuracy, and also support them when deciding what countermeasures should be used to address the threat.

Symantec’s contribution will be through its new Research Lab – Europe, which is based in Sophia Antipolis, France.

‘Symantec is honoured to continue its world-leading research efforts with the European community and leverage the unique expertise of its highly skilled and respected talent base,’ commented
Brian Witten, senior director of Government Research at Symantec. ‘The combined efforts of our new Symantec Research Lab and European Commission project will help provide businesses and
consumers the information and tools they need for greater confidence online.’

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