Two MIT graduate students are tackling the burgeoning issue of computer security lapses by bridging the gap between potential academic solutions to the problem and real-world applications. The Cybersecurity Factory, designed by the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science’s Jean Yang and Frank Wang, will encourage the formation of startup companies based on academic research.
“We don’t often hear about security startups—but not because there is a lack of solutions in this space,” say Yang and Wang in a blog post about the program. Rather, such startups are often stymied by unique challenges, including the fact that their “products are difficult to demo. While most people know how to evaluate Tinder for dogs, it is far less obvious how to evaluate security tools based on the absence of bugs rather than the presence of features,” they write.
The Cybersecurity Factory addresses these challenges and more through an eight-week summer program, complete with mentors and a $20,000 investment from Highland Capital for each participating startup. This year’s inaugural participants, Aikicrypt and Oblivilock, both involve ways to secure data in the cloud.
“Our goal is simply to bring more security companies into existence,” Yang told Klint Finley of Wired, who concluded: “It’s a humble goal, but one that couldn’t be more timely.”
MIT is addressing the problem of cybersecurity from three angles: technology, public policy, and organizational management. Learn more about MIT’s three new initiatives.