Kansas State University has launched a cyber security program in an effort to prevent future cybercrime attacks against the United States.Â The National Science Foundation awarded $2.3 million to the university, so students interested in cyber security can go pro.
With critical infrastructure systems enabling remote access, millions of hacking attempts are made each day to gain control of those systems. Training cyber security professionals to spot and plug security holes should be a high priority, said Xinming “Simon” Ou, associate professor of computing and information sciences.
“The nation is in dire need of people who are capable of handling the cybersecurity challenges we face,” Ou said. “We are lagging behind in the number of experts we have versus the threats we see.“
A testing cyber security lab was also set up to aid aspiring cyber security experts in testing proof-of-concept attacks. While the scholarship involves tuitions, materials and conference trainings, recipients are obliged to use their skills only in a U.S. government agency for the same number of years they had the scholarship.
“The public may not be very aware of how vulnerable we are these days, but the government is,” said Gurdip Singh, head of the department of computing and information sciences at Kansas State. “There have been successful incidents where attackers from another part of the world were able to penetrate U.S. financial and government computer systems. That’s why training the next generation to counter these attacks is so important. This scholarship program will be a wonderful opportunity for students interested in the field.“
Remotely disrupting the physical infrastructure of the U.S. is of real concern, and preparing experts that are capable in dealing with possible threats is worth investing in, said Ou.