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UAF receives national computer security designation

Submitted by Marmian Grimes
Phone: (907) 474-7902

05/10/06

The University of Alaska Fairbanks was recently named a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education, a designation that places it among the top computer security institutions in the country.

The designation recognizes UAF's commitment to and expertise in training the next generation cybersecurity professionals. UAF is among only 67 schools nationwide to earn the designation, awarded by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

"The CAE designation is quite prestigious in the field of cybersecurity, and means UAF is being recognized for its cutting-edge efforts to make computers and networks across the world more safe and secure," said Kara Nance, director of the UAF Advanced System Security Education, Research and Training Center.

The designation signifies that UAF has met a rigorous set of criteria and positions the university for future academic collaborations with other designated institutions. The ASSERT Center has led UAF's efforts to expand course offerings and research projects in computer and network security. The center's lab, housed in the UAF computer science department, features a complex, reconfigurable and isolated network environment, which can be used for research and teaching without risk to UAF networks. The computer forensics facilities can also be used by law enforcement officials investigating computer crimes, such as the recent security breach of a server in Bethel, and by businesses working to secure their computer systems.

"The lab has been used to solve a range of problems from the development of computer security systems for NASA data portals to saving a local marriage by recovering once-in-a-lifetime photographs . . . accidentally deleted from a digital camera," said lab staff member Brian Hay.

UAF is now eligible to apply for targeted funding, including student scholarships, which is only available to CAE institutions.

"The CAE designation means much more than just another feather in UAF's cap," said UAF Chancellor Steve Jones. "What it means is that Alaskans, who live, work and play in one of the most geographically isolated and network-dependent parts of the world, can enjoy the same kind of safe and secure access to the commercial and educational resources that people in the lower 48 states take for granted."

UAF staff and faculty have given local and national presentations on computer security issues and provide workshops and other educational resources to inform the public about the issue.

CONTACT: Sonja Bickford, CNSM public information office, at (907) 474-6714 or via e-mail at s.bickford@uaf.edu

ON THE WEB: http://assert.uaf.edu

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