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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Old Dominion University to Launch Cyber Security Center for Education and Research

Old Dominion University will launch, on March 1, a new Center for Cyber Security Education and Research that will serve as a multiple-discipline hub of expertise in the international fight against Internet-based crimes.

The Center is unique in its inter-disciplinary approach that brings together experts from across the University. This includes faculty and staff from the College of Arts and Letters, Strome College of Business, Darden College of Education and Batten College of Engineering and Technology as well as staff from three administrative units - Information Technology Services, the Tri-Cities Higher Education Center and Military Affairs.

A 2014 report from the Ponemon Institute ranked the United States as the country with the highest average cost of cyber-crime at $12.7 million per incident. Cyber security experts from government, industry and higher education consistently point to the multi-disciplinary nature of cyber security as one of the key features of strategies built to protect cyber environments.

"Research and education on cyber security is critically needed in order to safeguard the infrastructures of governments and businesses alike," said Provost Carol Simpson, who recently approved establishment of the center. "At Old Dominion University we have internationally-recognized faculty who are leaders in studying and teaching about cyber security. What sets our initiative apart from others is that we are addressing cyber security from an interdisciplinary framework."

Youssif Al-Nashif (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) was appointed director of the Center. Al-Nashif was part of the team that created the NSF Cloud and Autonomic Computing (CAC) center at the University of Arizona before he joined ODU. Tamer Nadeem (Department of Computer Science) was named associate director.

"Cyber-attacks are increasing in their quantity, quality and complexity while impacting many aspects of daily life, including: banking, healthcare, business, critical infrastructure, education and even entertainment," Al-Nashif said. "Depending on scattered research groups to solve these cyber security challenges is no longer sufficient. The best course of action is to stand up to current and future cyber security challenges by raising awareness through education and unifying research expertise. This is what the ODU Cyber Security Center of Education and Research is all about."

Those involved in the creation of the Center come from a variety of disciplines, including computer science; electrical engineering; computer engineering; modeling and simulation; engineering management; systems engineering; information technology; philosophy; criminal justice; and psychology.

Faculty members from the center have proposed an interdisciplinary major and minor in cyber security that, if approved, will begin in fall 2015. In addition, the university recently submitted a proposal to the National Security Agency to have cyber security offerings at ODU certified by the federal government.

The specific objectives of the center are to:

  • Promote awareness about cyber security, cyber forensics and cyber operations from a multidisciplinary framework
  • Coordinate interdisciplinary academic programming related to cyber security
  • Expand the pipeline for a cyber security workforce through focused education programs for a diverse group of learners
  • Facilitate a whole of government approach for responding to cyber security issues
  • Provide training and research to the military with a specific focus on topics related to homeland security and infrastructure needs
  • Serve as a clearinghouse for cyber security academic programming, research, training and prevention tools

"This center exemplifies our efforts to promote interdisciplinary solutions to complex societal issues," Simpson said. "We look forward to watching the center contribute in meaningful ways to our students, our Hampton Roads community and the global community."

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