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NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), United States

NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), United States

JUDSON KNIGHT

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a non-regulatory federal agency under the aegis of the Undersecretary for Technology in the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is concerned with maintaining measurement standards and developing technology in order to improve productivity, promote commerce, and enhance the qualify of life in the United States. It also has a number of security functions, which have come to the forefront in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks upon the United States.

Background. Founded in 1901 as the Bureau of Standards, NIST today involves the development and maintenance of standards and measures used in virtually every arena of public and private life. Private industry in the United States uses more than 9,000 NIST standards.

Characterizing the breadth of the NIST mission, Anne C. Mulkern wrote in the Denver Post, "When consumers buy beef at the butcher, it's weighed on a scale that's calibrated to a NIST-developed standard. Automobile seat belts all must adhere to a safety standard set by NIST." At its Web site in 2003, the institute itself described the range of areas in which it is involved: "From automated teller machines and atomic clocks to mammograms and semi-conductors, innumerable products and services rely in some way on technology, measurement, and standards provided by [NIST]."

Organization. In line with its mission, NIST oversees four major cooperative programs: the NIST Laboratories, which advance the national technology infrastructure; the Baldridge National Quality Program, designed to encourage excellence among U.S. manufacturers, service providers, health-care companies, and educational institutions; the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a network of local centers that assists small manufacturers; and the Advanced Technology Program, whose function is to promote research and development of new technologies in the private sector.

With a 2003 operating budget of $810 million, NIST employs some 3,000 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support and administrative personnel. Some 1,600 other guest researchers also work with the institute. Additionally, NIST works with some 2,000 manufacturing specialists and support staff at various locations nationwide. It has two offices: a 578-acre (234-hectare) facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and a 208-acre (84-hectare) installation at Boulder, Colorado.

Intelligence and security work. In addition to the work of its Computer Security Division and efforts to assist law-enforcement agencies in detecting criminal activity on computers, NIST has played a significant part in the investigation of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Mulkern, writing in January 2002, discussed the greatly enhanced stature of the institute, which at that time was being considered for a lead role in the investigation of the World Trade Center collapse.

NIST scientist Ronald Rehm, according to Mulkern, "goes to work every day and watches the World Trade Center burn, over and over again." His purpose was not to relive a moment of national agony, but to study it the way a coroner does a cadaverfor clues as to the cause of death. One finding he had already turned up, which contradicted the accepted wisdom about the collapse, was that the temperature inside the buildings was not high enough to melt steel. Instead, the levels of heat had only been enough to bow the steel, and this alone put enough pressure on the walls and floors that the buildings fell. Additionally, the heat of the jet fuel alone did not explain the rapid spread of the fire, according to Rehm, who had determined that the large paper supplies in the offices, along with other combustible materials, greatly abetted the conflagration.

Not only was NIST involved in the investigation of what happened, it was also deeply concerned with efforts to prevent another such tragedy by helping to interdict suspicious persons. Among its tasks in the post-attack security environment was a mandate from the federal government to develop standards for biometric recognition systems, which use face recognition, retina scanning, voiceprints, and other characteristics of an individual's physique to provide identification. NIST has also been tasked to study the use of electromagnetic waves as a means of detecting objects hidden under clothing.

FURTHER READING:

PERIODICALS:

Mulkern, Anne C. "Agency Tackles National Security: NIST's Boulder Lab Developing Technologies to Combat Terrorism." Denver Post. (January 25, 2002): C1.

Piazza, Peter. "Tools for Digital Sleuths." Security Management 46, no. 4 (April 2002): 36.

ELECTRONIC:

National Institute of Standards and Technology. <http://www.nist.gov/> (January 28, 2003).

SEE ALSO

Commerce Department Intelligence and Security Responsibilities, United States
IDENT (Automated Biometric Identification System)
NIST Computer Security Division, United States

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"NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), United States." Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. . Retrieved July 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/politics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nist-national-institute-standards-and-technology-united-states

NIST Computer Security Division, United States

NIST Computer Security Division, United States

The Computer Security Division (CSD) is one of eight divisions within the Information Technology Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), itself a bureau of the Chamber of Commerce. CSD is concerned with raising awareness of information technology (IT) risks, vulnerabilities, and protection requirements, especially for new and emerging forms of technology.

In addition to its support and security role with regard to new technologies, CSD is involved in researching IT vulnerabilities, advising federal and state agencies of these, and developing means to provide cost-effective protection. Also, in line with its mission as a part of NIST, it helps develop standards, tests, validation programs, and metrics in computer systems and services with an eye toward security.

NIST involvement in "digital sleuthing," or the use of computers in detective work, often allows the division to team up with a consortium of law-enforcement agencies to develop computer forensics technology. NIST and CSD scientists worked with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Customs Service, and other agencies, along with software vendors, to create the National Software Reference Library (NSRL), which allows easier review of the contents of a computer, especially with regard to material potentially relevant to a criminal investigation. By examining file tag attachments NIST CSD programs can easily identify certain types of files (e.g., picture files that may be hidden in other programs).

Thanks to Presidential Decision Directive 63, signed by President William J. Clinton in 1998, NIST and CSD received $5 million (which was much less than the $50 million Clinton had requested from Congress) to encourage the development of secure information systems for support of the telecommunications, transportation, and government service infrastructures. In the country's heightened security environment after September 11, the work of CSD has becomelike that of most agencies either within or at the periphery of the security and intelligence apparatus of the federal governmentcritical to national defense. Among the areas of focus for CSD are development of cryptographic standards and applications, security testing, and research in the interests of emerging technologies.

FURTHER READING:

PERIODICALS:

Frank, Diane. "NIST Aims Grants at Systems Security." Federal Computer Week 15, no. 11 (April 23, 2001): 12.

Piazza, Peter. "Tools for Digital Sleuths." Security Management 46, no. 4 (April 2002): 36.

. "E-mail and Patching Hints from NIST." Security Management 46, no. 7 (July 2002): 44.

ELECTRONIC:

Computer Security Division. National Institute of Standards and Technology. <http://csrc.nist.gov> (January 28, 2003).

SEE ALSO

Commerce Department Intelligence and Security Responsibilities, United States
Computer Hardware Security
Computer Software Security
NIST (United States National Institute of Standards and Technology)

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"NIST Computer Security Division, United States." Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"NIST Computer Security Division, United States." Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/politics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nist-computer-security-division-united-states

"NIST Computer Security Division, United States." Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. . Retrieved July 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/politics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nist-computer-security-division-united-states

NIST Computer Security Division, United States

NIST Computer Security Division, United States

A phenomenal amount of information is computerized. Whether isolated or connected to the global computerized community via the Internet, computers house countless pages of text, graphics, and other forms of information. Without safeguards, this information is vulnerable to misuse or theft.

Forensic computing is concerned with computer security , particularly when a breach has occurred. This aspect of forensic science is a national priority. The Computer Security Division (CSD) is one of eight divisions within the Information Technology Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), itself a bureau of the Chamber of Commerce. CSD is concerned with raising awareness of information technology (IT) risks, vulnerabilities, and protection requirements, especially for new and emerging forms of technology.

In addition to its support and security role with regard to new technologies, CSD is involved in researching IT vulnerabilities, advising federal and state agencies of these, and developing means to provide cost-effective protection. Also, in line with its mission as a part of NIST, it helps develop standards, tests, validation programs, and metrics in computer systems and services with an eye toward security.

NIST involvement in "digital sleuthing," or the use of computers in detective work, often allows the division to team up with a consortium of law-enforcement agencies to develop computer forensics technology. NIST and CSD scientists worked with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Customs Service, and other agencies, along with software vendors, to create the National Software Reference Library (NSRL), which allows easier review of the contents of a computer, especially with regard to material potentially relevant to a criminal investigation. By examining file tag attachments, NIST CSD programs can easily identify certain types of files (e.g., picture files that may be hidden in other programs).

Presidential Decision Directive 63, signed by President William J. Clinton in 1998, earmarked $5 million to NIST and CSD (far less than the $50 million Clinton had requested from Congress) to encourage the development of secure information systems for support of the telecommunications, transportation, and government service infrastructures. In the heightened security environment of the post-September 2001 United States, the work of CSD has becomelike that of most agencies either within or at the periphery of the security and intelligence apparatus of the federal governmentcritical to national defense. Among the forensically-relevant areas of focus for CSD are development of cryptographic standards and applications, security testing, and research in the interests of emerging technologies.

see also Computer forensics; Computer hackers; Computer hardware security; Computer software security; Computer virus.

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"NIST Computer Security Division, United States." World of Forensic Science. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"NIST Computer Security Division, United States." World of Forensic Science. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nist-computer-security-division-united-states

"NIST Computer Security Division, United States." World of Forensic Science. . Retrieved July 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nist-computer-security-division-united-states

National Institute of Standards and Technology

National Institute of Standards and Technology, governmental agency within the U.S. Dept. of Commerce with the mission of "working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements, and standards" in the national interest. It was established by act of Congress on Mar. 3, 1901; until 1988 it was known as the National Bureau of Standards. Its headquarters are at Gaithersburg, Md., with additional facilities located at Boulder, Colo. It conducts four major programs: the Measurements and Standards Laboratories, a number of highly technical research facilities in such fields as electronics, chemical science and technology, physics, and information technology; the Advanced Technology Program, which explores "not-yet-possible" technologies; the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a nationwide network which offers technical assistance to small businesses; and the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, an award given for excellence in business performance in either manufacturing, service, or small business.

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"National Institute of Standards and Technology." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"National Institute of Standards and Technology." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/national-institute-standards-and-technology

"National Institute of Standards and Technology." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/national-institute-standards-and-technology