In line with the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s (GTRI) role as leader of implementation efforts for the five-year, $10 million Homeland Open Security Technology (HOST) program with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), GTRI and the HOST program held the Open Cyber Security Summit in Washington D.C., on Oct. 18.

“The Summit represented an approach to encourage the conversation around open source software and cyber security,” said Joshua Davis, the Associate Division Head of GTRI’s Cyber Technology and Information Security Laboratory and principal investigator for the HOST program. “Having those attending the summit verify that the conversation of open source software and cyber security is very relevant and should continue.”

By definition, Open Source Software (OSS) is computer software available in source code form, making it more accessible and transparent to users wanting to study, improve and at times distribute software.

“As we go, we are sharing this information across government agencies and helping to build networks of users, service and support providers…and providing a venue enabling them to discuss and learn from collective experiences,” Davis said. “The collective is what gives open source its strength.  We are simply applying this successful strategy to address government cyber security challenges.”

The DHS HOST program has three main areas of focus, which were stressed by GTRI during the Cyber Security Summit: discovery, collaboration and investment.

The Cyber Security Summit brought in industry leaders and experts on cyber security. Stewart Baker, a former DHS Assistant Secretary for Policy and expert in government policy and international cyber security matters, gave the Key Note Address. Baker’s “Clouds, Crowds, and Spies” address focused on fighting technology threatening global military balance and disrupting future strategies.

Other panelists focused their main discussion on the role of government in the private sector and how they sought the most effective cyber security policies and practices.

“This program is the type of program that our DHS customer is encouraging. GTRI will work with DHS to continue these sort of gatherings and platforms for conversation,” Davis said about plans for Tech to host a local Cyber Security Summit on Nov. 14.