New ASU cybersecurity center to proactively look at protecting data
The Internet has dramatically changed our world. We can now perform our jobs, earn a degree, receive mail and more — entirely online. However, as we have become increasingly interconnected, we have also become more vulnerable to data breaches, cyber attacks and unauthorized network access.
Our military, governments, hospitals and financial institutions handle massive amounts of sensitive data, such as Social Security numbers, credit-card accounts, personal medical histories and more. This data is often shared across networks and computers. How do we consistently protect such information, especially when technology is constantly evolving?
To address this question, the Global Security Initiative at Arizona State University has launched the Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics. The center will take a proactive, interdisciplinary approach to the issue of cybersecurity.
Gail-Joon Ahn, an expert in security analytics and big-data-driven security intelligence, will serve as the center’s director. Ahn is a professor in ASU’s School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering, part of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.
The center’s launch event included speakers from law, business and psychology, as well as Sethuraman Panchanathan, senior vice president of ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development (OKED). OKED advances research, entrepreneurship and economic development activities at ASU.
“ASU’s strength in connecting public and private partners for research, education and innovation allows us to effectively address the most pressing global challenges,” said Panchanathan. “The new Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics brings an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to the emerging and constantly changing field of digital security. This positions ASU as the partner of choice for industry and government institutions working to create solutions in the U.S. and around the world.”
Cybersecurity is inherently interdisciplinary, which is why the center has engaged nearly 30 faculty members across eight academic units — from computer science and business to law, psychology and even the English Department.
Cybersecurity research tends to focus on software solutions, but there is a human element to every cyber attack. Researchers at the center will explore the economic, cultural, legal and policy issues surrounding cybersecurity as well as the technological challenges.
“As we are moving toward a very mobile and cyber-dependent society, it is critical to deal with diverse security challenges raised in dynamic and rapidly changing IT-centric environments. We desperately need to pursue a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach to cope with such challenges,” said Ahn. “In addition, it is imperative to focus on specific areas that can fully leverage ASU's capabilities in the cybersecurity area. This center will help prioritize areas that we should focus on, while expanding current security-related research activities and collaborating with diverse experts at ASU.”
Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics researchers will collaborate with other universities, government agencies and industry partners to advance cybersecurity and digital forensics research.
The center will focus on three pillars — education, research and innovation — to help produce an outstanding workforce in the area of national security; tackle short-term and long-term security challenges via top-notch research expertise and activities; and significantly contribute to economic growth in Arizona and the U.S. by transferring innovative and patented technologies to the marketplace.
“I am thrilled to have the Global Security Initiative’s first center address this challenge, bringing together expertise from across the campus, and connecting to both private and public partners,” said Nadya Bliss, director of the Global Security Initiative. “In this age of interconnectedness and complexity, cybersecurity is at the forefront of our security as a human race.”
The Global Security Initiative is currently sponsoring the CSM Passcode podcast, which focuses on security and privacy in the digital age. The initiative's director, Nadya Bliss, and Jamie Winterton, director of Strategic Research Initiatives for GSI, will be featured in the upcoming podcast, to be released in late September.
Written by Melissa Pagnozzi