About the DETER Project

Image of DDOS Worm Example Visualization

DETERLab visualization: worm spread through global topology DDoS on single target

While the pace of cyber-threat growth continues to accelerate, the stream of new and effective cyber-defense technology has grown much more slowly. DETER -- which stands for cyber DEfense Technology Experimental Research -- helps address this critical strategic issue.

The gap between threat and defense continues to widen as adversaries use increasingly sophisticated attack technologies to...
  • cause economic disruption;
  • interrupt services to critical infrastructure such as the power grid, hydro dams, and nuclear energy facilities; and,
  • even affect personal safety through increasingly Internet-integrated cars, home appliances and medical devices.

DETER is working to fill that gap, as both a research project and the operator of a leading cyber security experimentation lab, DETERLab. We are focused on emerging behavior, helping leading edge researchers, small startups and vendors invest in new technologies that will be needed to thwart the attacks of the future.

DETER's mission...
is to readily enable the research community to conduct advanced research in cyber security through use of DETERLab's innovative methods and advanced tools -- that allow for repeatable, scalable and scientifically verifiable experimentation -- for homeland security and critical infrastructure protection.

DETER's goal...
is to accelerate the development of effective, innovative cyber defense technology by advancing the state of cyber security experimentation and science.

DETER's approach...
is three-fold:

  1. Research on research: Answering key questions about how best to conduct cyber-security research, what are the best methods and tools to carry out this kind of research, and how do you conduct cyber research in a repeatable, archivable, hypothesis-based way.
  2. DETERLab: We designed, own and operate a large testbed facility used by thousands of users from around the world to perform experiments and tests on emerging new technologies.
  3. Community and education: DETERLab is open and available for use by a wide community. We also provide experimental methods and tools in online courses built for educational use to encourage the development of our next generation of cyber researchers.

DETER's research results...
are put into practice in DETERLab where members of our research community -- spanning over 860 researchers from 40 countries -- use our advanced experimentation facility. We learn from our research community's work how our results work in practice to help DETERLab experimenters prove the effectiveness of their security innovations.

DETERLab provides...
unique, real-world capability to research in developing, discovering, experimenting on and testing cyber defense technology. It is free to use and accessible through an online application process.

Support for DETER

DETER team and sponsors

DETER is funded by the Department of Homeland Security, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense. The DETER research team at University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute and at University of California, Berkeley are also supported by more than 20 collaborators, including major universities, technology research labs, and corporations engaged in cyber security research.

DETER is led by founder and Principal Investigator Terry Benzel and by ISI Director of Computer Networks John Wroclawski. DETER staff activities include research work in the several areas of DETER’s research program, technology developments to enhance DETERLab, technical operations of DETERLab facilities, and support of the DETERLab community of experimenters and educational users.

Transforming Cyber-Security Research

Accelerating the Science of Cyber Security

DETER seeks to transform cyber security research into a rigorous, experimental science by creating the advances in methods and technologies -- through research, DETERLab operation, education, and collaboration -- for repeatable, verifiable experiments in a realistic test environment and in making those advances widely available to foster rapid growth in research activity and results.

DETER enables experimenters to share data, lab set-up, software and tools, experimental procedures, results, and other information that should, in practice, enable new experimenters to stand on their predecessors' shoulders rather than start at ground level for every new project.