The money will fund corporate and university projects aimed at securing wireless computer networks, analyzing the vulnerabilities created by merging computer and phone networks, developing new methods of detecting hackers and network intruders, and finding better ways to protect power networks.
"These research grants will make an important down payment towards addressing the many cyber challenges we need to surmount to protect America's critical infrastructures," Richard A. Clarke, National Security Council adviser and national coordinator for security and counterterrorism, said in a statement.
The recipients include the University of Maryland, the University of California-San Diego, Washington State University, the University of Tulsa, the University of Pittsburgh, security software maker Network Associates and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.
Network engineering company Telcordia Technologies received the largest grant: nearly $1 million for research into the vulnerabilities created by merging new information networks with old analog telephone networks.
The funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology--an agency within the Department of Commerce--had been in the works long before the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, said Philip Bulman, a spokesman for the agency.
NIST received 133 applications, totaling $73 million in requests.