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Security projects aim for Summer of Code
Published: 2009-03-26

A number of security-focused open-source projects have announced their participation as mentoring organizations in Google's Summer of Code.

The NMap Project plans to sponsor students who will code modifications to the NMap port scanner's scripting engine, the ZenMap graphical frontend to the tool and the NCat networking utility. The OpenSSH project is looking for a few good students to help rewrite the sftp secure copy tool and improve performance. And, the Honeynet Project announced a slate of proposals to attract students interested in participating in the initiative, including improving the honeypots, developing a managed solution for client-side honeypots and visualizing the data from a deployed honeynet.

While 2009 will be the Honeynet Project's first year in the Google Summer of Code, the members are excited about the program, said project leader Lance Spitzner.

"We are looking to get a lot of stuff done," he said. "We tend to find that the best honeypot development comes from students."

In its fifth year, Google's Summer of Code allows students to work on coding projects that help the open-source software industry. In 2005, its first year sponsoring the program, Google accepted 400 student projects mentored by 40 open-source projects. Last year, the company worked with 175 organization to mentor 1,125 students, but plans to pare back to 1,000 students this year.

Among the other security-related projects, Harvard University's Berkman Center will sponsor applicants to work on an open Web community platform using reputations derived from its service. The KDE Project is also looking for security coding and modeling for its desktop project, Plasma.

The Globus Alliance, a group focused on developing fundamental grid-computing technologies, and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at University of Illinois are also sponsoring project focusing on the security of token-based grid architectures and more general cybersecurity initiatives.

The deadline for applying to Google's Summer of Code is Friday, April 3. Google pays the student programmer $4,500 and gives $500 to the mentoring organization.

UPDATE: The article was updated to include the security-programming projects sponsored by the Globus Alliance and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

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Posted by: Robert Lemos
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