DSTO reinvigorates technology alliance program with IBM

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation and IBM have signed a partnership deal to collaborate on cybersecurity research.

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and IBM Australia have entered into a five-year-long alliance to carry out research on a range of defence technologies.

Under the partnership, the two parties will aim to promote mutually beneficial communication and collaborative research on matters of strategic significance to defence, defence self-reliance, and defence capability development.

"[It] will cover research in cybersecurity, analytics and cognitive computing," a Defence spokesperson said.

"Areas for collaborative research remain to be worked out in detail, but some options might include analysing big data in the cybersecurity space, intelligent use of computing power, and smart sensors for detecting viruses to prevent bioterrorism, and other epidemics."

Research from Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report shows cyberalerts have been on the rise, with numbers in November 2010 reaching 4,500 and then hitting the 6,500 mark in November 2013.

As a result, the Defence spokesperson believes it's important to address the issue in order to allow for online economic growth.

"There is a growing global and national dependence on cyberspace to promote economic wealth and societal well-being; monitor and control critical infrastructure; store, process, and manage sensitive information; and undertake government business," the spokesperson said.

"In addition to opportunities, cyberspace presents significant challenges. Investment by the commercial sector in ICT is resulting in an almost continuous appearance of new cyber concepts and devices; deepening human-technology partnerships; and a cyberthreat that is continually growing and changing.

"All of these place high demands on cybersecurity. As such, Australia has ranked cybersecurity as one of the key risk areas for Defence and national security."

The alliance forms part of the reinvigoration of DSTO's industry alliance program, which the Defence spokesperson said focuses on "strengthening research and development relationships with key Australian companies". Other companies that have previously signed on to the program are BAE Systems Australia and Thales Australia.

IBM Australia director Glenn Wightwick said the company welcomed the chance to contribute to Defence capability in emerging technologies.

"IBM has a long history of driving innovation – from the invention of the barcode to the creation of cognitive computing systems that learn and interact naturally with people to extend what either humans or machine could do on their own," he said.

"IBM has a strong relationship with the Australian Defence Force, and we are pleased to be able to collaborate with DSTO on this important work."

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