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Financial Services Sector Signs Cybersecurity Research Agreement with NIST, DHS

For Immediate Release: December 8, 2010

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Contact: Evelyn Brown
301-975-5661

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has joined in a new public-private partnership to spur cybersecurity innovation in the financial services sector. Through a memorandum of understanding signed on Dec. 6, 2010, NIST, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate and the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council agreed to work together to speed the application of research into practice for better cybersecurity for the critically important financial services sector.

The organizations plan to leverage their core cybersecurity expertise, research and development capabilities and other resources to explore the benefits of new cybersecurity technologies and develop new processes that benefit critical financial services functions.  Outputs of this collaborative research also are expected to be applicable to health care and Smart Grid cybersecurity needs. 

Nearly all modern financial services—banking and credit card transactions, insurance, trading and funds management, and many other business and consumer financial activities—are delivered online to all parts of the economy and society. Online services are also integral to international commerce. Both the public and private sectors have vital interests in securing financial services against threats.

The three members of the partnership have complementing capabilities: 

  • NIST's Information Technology Laboratory advances the state of the art in information technology and cybersecurity through innovations in mathematics, statistics and computer science and conducts research to develop the measurement and standards infrastructure for emerging information technologies and applications. Working with industry, other government agencies and academia, the institute accelerates the development of and deployment of IT systems that are reliable, usable, interoperable and secure.

  • The Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council—whose members include banks, credit unions, insurance companies, payment services, trading firms and others—supports research and development initiatives to protect the physical and electronic infrastructure of the banking and finance sector and to protect its customers by enhancing the sector's resilience and integrity.

  • The S&T Directorate is the Department of Homeland Security's research and development arm. Among its priorities, S&T conducts—in cooperation with other Federal agencies, state, local, and tribal governments, universities, and private industry—cybersecurity research and development to secure the Nation's current and future cyber and critical infrastructures. 


The groups will develop and implement use cases and the supporting test plans to facilitate high assurance network infrastructures, advanced identity management technologies and improved usability of security technologies.