UGA named National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research

Published 4:13 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2017

By Sam Fahmy

UGA Today

The University of Georgia has been named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research, a designation that underscores the role the university plays in advancing technology, policy and practices that strengthen America’s cyber defense capabilities.

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UGA is one of just 71 institutions nationwide to hold this joint National Security Agency/Department of Homeland Security designation and, along with Georgia Tech, one of two CAE-R institutions in Georgia.

“I am pleased that the University of Georgia is being recognized as a national leader in this area of critical importance,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “Thanks to the dedication of our faculty and the breadth of our research, instruction and outreach activities, UGA is uniquely positioned to advance the cybersecurity capabilities of our state and nation.”

To receive designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research, an institution must have a high level of research activity and meet several criteria for cyber defense research, student training and overall impact.

Faculty members in the university’s Institute for Cybersecurity and Privacy, one of the institutes affiliated with the Georgia Informatics Institutes for Research and Education at UGA, conduct research in network and system security, web security, security for mobile devices and the Internet of Things, and cybercrime attribution, among several other areas.

Their work has been funded by agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency and National Science Foundation, as well as through industry partners such as Intel and Cisco Systems. A DHS grant to associate professor Roberto Perdisci, for example, is supporting the transition to market of a system known as AMICO that he and his colleagues created to defend computer networks from malicious software. An NSF grant to professor Kang Li, who directs the ICSP, is enabling the creation of open-source software to enhance the security of cloud computing.

“The goal of the Institute for Cybersecurity and Privacy is to become a state hub for cybersecurity research and education, including multidisciplinary programs and research, outreach activities and industry partnership,” Li said. “By working together, we can help meet our nation’s cybersecurity needs.”

Increased cybersecurity research activity at UGA has been accompanied by growth in the number of students earning degrees related to cybersecurity at the undergraduate and graduate levels. With funding from the NSF, Li and Perdisci are developing and evaluating cybersecurity educational materials for undergraduates. This fall UGA launched its Informatics Certificate Program to prepare students across campus for a range of careers involving big data, and the department of computer science recently launched a graduate certificate program in cybersecurity.

Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten noted that the university’s designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research comes at a time when the institution is making dramatic strides in research and instruction related to big data. The university now boasts nearly 170 faculty members whose work involves big data, cybersecurity and related fields.

“Cybersecurity touches nearly aspect of modern life, and our designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research is a testament to the quality of our faculty and the far-reaching impact of their work,” Whitten said.