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UAlbany School of Business Partners With Palantir Technologies to Fight Global Security Threats

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150



Sanjay Goel, President George Philip and Moscow St. IT Director Vladamir Sokolov sign an agreement on collaboration

From left, University at Albany President George Philip and Dr. Vladimir Sokolov of Moscow State University sign an agreement in support of ongoing collaboration on cyber-security research as Associate Professor Sanjay Goel of the School of Business looks on. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 3, 2009) -- Software firm Palantir Technologies of Palo Alto, Calif., has donated 16 core licenses worth $2.25 million for cyber-security research at the University at Albany. The licenses will support a cyber-security initiative designed to combine information from hacker forums with global network data to predict with high accuracy where cyber attacks originate.

The project is headed by Sanjay Goel, associate professor of information technology management at UAlbany’s School of Business. Goel will lead collaborations with universities in Russia and Spain to track cyber terrorism around the world. The software licenses will provide the tools for integrating, visualizing, and analyzing the world’s information.

"Cyber-security is a crucially important global issue," said George M. Philip, President of the University at Albany. "We thank Palantir Technologies for their generous support of this initiative.  The collaborative efforts of universities, industry leaders and governments will enable us to develop the tools to combat cyber terrorism."

"A critical concern regarding a cyber attack is its impact on commercial activity," said School of Business Dean Donald Siegel. "By preventing such attacks and aiding in the prosecution of evil-doers, Professor Goel and his collaborators are preserving the public's trust in e-commerce, since these are essentially faceless and impersonal transactions.  Therefore, his research also has important economic and managerial implications."

UAlbany associate professor Sanjay Goel with student researchers

Associate Professor Sanjay Goel of UAlbany's School of Business will lead an international research team which will utilize the Palantir Technologies software platform to predict with high accuracy where cyber attacks originate. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

"Today’s cyber terrorists are highly adaptive. The complexity and stealth of their attacks necessitate a new class of detection software to identify and understand where vulnerabilities exist," said Goel, who serves as director of research at the New York State Center for Information Forensics and Assurance. "Palantir will provide us with a platform that is able to reduce information from multiple data sources into a form where it can be coherently analyzed."

"The vast majority of cyber terrorism goes undetected," said Dr. Alex Karp, CEO of Palantir Technologies. "We look forward to collaborating with Dr. Goel and the University at Albany-led research team with the goal of identifying and reducing global security threats."

Palantir Technologies’ government platform is broadly deployed in the intelligence, defense, and law enforcement communities. Founded in 2004 by a handful of PayPal alumni and Stanford computer scientists, Palantir’s analysis and targeting capabilities provide the ability to: extract baseline attack signatures through pattern analysis; map known attack vectors; and perform temporal assessment of threats to enable discovery, prediction of emergent threats, identification of adversarial motives, and facilitation of decision-making based on situational awareness. In addition, a unique feature of the Palantir platform is that civil liberties and privacy protections are built directly into the core technology, among other things, making information available only to those authorized to see it.

Palantir Technologies has helped solve some of the most sophisticated cyber-terrorist operations discovered to date, including GhostNet. Operating in 103 countries, GhostNet was a vast electronic spy network which infiltrated at least 1,295 computers, including many belonging to embassies, foreign ministries and other government offices, as well as the Dalai Lama’s Tibetan exile centers in India, Brussels, London and New York. Researchers based at the University of Toronto cracked the GhostNet case by utilizing Palantir’s software suite. Palantir has also been extensively being used by GreyLogic in profiling hackers from Russia, Middle East, India and Pakistan.

Palantir’s goal in partnering with UAlbany is to help shape and design a product that will be more relevant and useful. "No great software is developed in isolation," said Dr. Karp. "We have a deep commitment to academia and rely on our partnerships with domain experts and users for ideas to improve our products."

About PalantirTechnologies
Palantir is the market-leading analytical platform used at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels within the US government.  Founded in 2004, by a handful of PayPal alumni and Stanford computer scientists, our clients span the intelligence, defense, and law enforcement communities.  Palantir is headquartered in Palo Alto, California with offices in Tysons  Corner, Virginia.

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