Norwich University students joined with Respond Software at the College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi’s Stadium. (Courtesy Respond Software)
The College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi’s Stadium on Monday was a winning day for the cybersecurity world monitoring malicious threats at venues.
As 75,000 college football fans cheered the Clemson Tigers or the Alabama Crimson Tide, analysts from artificial intelligence company Respond Software and students from Norwich University, a private military university in Northfield, Vt., worked to protect cybersecurity at the game.
More than 243,000 threats were caught that day, of which 200,097 required further investigation. A total of 431 malicious threats were identified, with 13 of them needing immediate action from the cybersecurity team, according to data from Respond Software.
Officials from Respond Software and Norwich University declined to offer details on those 13 malicious threats, saying only that they were able to thwart them.
“One of the biggest things is it’s one of the most efficient cyber protections of a game of this size that’s ever been done. It means that there’s an ability to provide much larger cybersecurity at these kind of events,” said Chris Calvert, co-founder and vice president of strategy at Response Software, which develops technology to fight cybercrime.
Students from Norwich University’s Applied Research Institute were stationed at the stadium in a security situation center. They used Respond Software automated software called Respond Analyst to monitor cyberactivity on Levi’s Stadium’s computer systems.
Norwich University’s Cyber Conflict Research Institute has been working with Levi’s Stadium, the San Fransisco 49ers, the Santa Clara Police Department and Respond Software to find ways to decrease outside threats that aren’t visible to the public, said Phil Susmann, vice president of strategic partnerships at Norwich.
The stadium and Norwich first worked together in 2016 at Super Bowl 50. “(Initially) the wireless network was not protected,” Susmann said. “Everything in these stadiums operate on control systems with computers, so that’s why the cybersecurity is so important.”
Technology has advanced since that Super Bowl, and Respond Software and Norwich found a way to better streamline threats through new algorithms. That means it takes fewer people and less time to figure out threats, Susmann said.
“We use a virtual security analyst that can consider every factor that is effective in making a decision if something is an actual issue,” Calvert said.
Norwich University is a client of Respond Software and partners with the National Security Administration to find ways to improve all types of security monitoring, including cybersecurity, Susmann said.
Norwich programs are ranked among the best in the nation for cybersecurity education by Michigan-based Ponemon Institute, according to the school. The university is also recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.