Wetzel and Wright awarded grant for cybersecurity lab

09/14/05

Lab will enable faculty and students to study network security

HOBOKEN, N.J. -- Assistant Professor Susanne Wetzel and Associate Professor Rebecca Wright of Computer Science at Stevens Institute of Technology have been awarded a $125,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish a cybersecurity laboratory at Stevens.

The lab, which will focus on the network security issues area of cybersecurity, will be "a safe environment in which we can run experiments that we can't do on a regular network," said Dr. Wetzel, emphasizing that "it is a separate lab that won't interfere with the regular operation of any networks here." The lab will serve as a facility for faculty and student research projects.

Drs. Wetzel and Wright, security experts with industrial experience and an interdisciplinary background, are developing the cybersecurity lab in response to the vulnerable nature of the nation's information infrastructure. As security breaches continue to threaten the economy, security and our way of life, extensive ongoing education and practical training using state-of-the-art equipment are more critical than ever.

The hands-on, state-of-the art lab at Stevens will provide students with practical training in security and information assurance, preparing them to meet the challenges in protecting and securing our nation's information infrastructure. The lab will be used for the undergraduate security lab course involving experimentation with specific security solutions, vulnerabilities and exploits, and will allow students to gain experience by applying their theoretical knowledge in practice.

The new lab will increase the number of IT professionals educated and trained in theoretical and practical aspects of information assurance and security. It will significantly enhance their capabilities to secure better the critical infrastructures in the governmental and the private sectors, providing both economic and social benefits to society. In addition, the lab will integrate research and education, and through proposed K-12 interactions, will give students the opportunity to act as teachers as well.

The cybersecurity lab supports ongoing efforts at Stevens in building capacity in information assurance and computer security education. It also builds on the success of Drs. Wright and Wetzel's previous efforts: In 2003, Stevens Institute of Technology was named by the National Security Agency as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. In the summer of 2004, Drs. Wetzel and Wright were awarded an earlier NSF Scholarship for Service Capacity Building grant to support the establishment of interdisciplinary degrees in cybersecurity. Recently, Stevens has received an equipment award through the CISCO Equipment Donation Program; this equipment forms the backbone infrastructure of the proposed lab. The effort is furthermore supported by the university administration's strong commitment in establishing high-quality cybersecurity education programs.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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