Cyber Security Center Unites Public, Private

Thursday, October 28, 2010 @ 09:10 AM gHale

A new cyber security initiative aims to stimulate public-private partnerships and address national vulnerabilities, including those facing industry.
The thought behind the initiative is to help “connect the dots” in the burgeoning federal and private cyber sector.
The focal point of the initiative, the new Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2) at the University of Maryland, will adopt a holistic approach to cyber security education, research and technology development, stressing comprehensive, interdisciplinary solutions.
One of the goals for MC2 will be to bring together experts from engineering and computer science with colleagues from across campus in fields such as information sciences, business, public policy, social sciences and economics to develop new educational and research programs. It will also draw on the university’s technology commercialization resources.
“The nation’s information systems have outgrown our ability to assure their security, and no one institution or sector can undertake a task of this magnitude alone,” said Nariman Farvardin, interim president of the University of Maryland, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
MC2 will build on growing national and state commitments to address critical vulnerabilities of U.S. information systems.
MC2 will be able to pull from the extensive cyber security research already underway at the university, including wireless and network security, cryptography, secure programming, mechanisms for ensuring citizens’ privacy in social networks, cyber supply chain research, attacker behavioral analysis, cyber security policy and economics, multimedia forensics, among other areas.
The research will have applications in the commercial world, as well as in national security. Among the myriad things they are working on, MC2 researchers will focus on helping manufacturers assure the integrity of software and hardware components they buy from suppliers.
University of Maryland students will also participate in MC2 research, which will help prepare them for employment in the field. Additional graduate and undergraduate educational programs that emphasize unique, hands-on experience in cyber security systems will augment current courses.
“While there’s a shortage of qualified workers in a rapidly growing field like this, the most acute need is for graduates with advanced degrees and very high skill sets,” Farvardin said. “We’re particularly well equipped to help meet this need.”
Initially, Chairman of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Patrick O’Shea and Chairman of the Department of Computer Science Larry Davis will lead MC2. A national search is underway to hire a permanent director.
The university is beginning to line up private sector research partners to work with the center, including Lockheed Martin and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).
“MC2 will play an important role in the national cyber effort, which will benefit greatly from industry, academia and government collaboration,” said Ted Campbell, Lockheed Martin vice president of advanced concepts.
“By linking our efforts, we can strategically support key initiatives of importance – not only to our organizations, but to the nation,” said Larry Cox, SAIC senior vice president and business unit general manager. “Areas such as cyber supply chain research, accredited testing and evaluation, cloud computing security, and cyber defense education and training.”

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