Drexel Opens Cybersecurity Institute

Pulling from its many resources in online data management and protection, Drexel University is opening a cybersecurity institute to address national cyber-based threats and prepare the next generation of cybersecurity leaders. The Drexel University Cybersecurity Institute, which occupies a 4,000 square-foot space on the third floor of the Science Center Building at 3401 Market St., will serve as a center for research, teaching and training; and a cybersecurity resource for industry, government and the military.

“There is no greater threat to our national critical infrastructure than cyber-attacks,” said David E. Fenske, the founding dean of the College of Computing & Informatics and Isaac L. Auerbach professor in the College. “In order to prevent these attacks, we must understand them and anticipate them. With the foundation of CCI’s leading research in data science, information systems and technology, the Institute will be well positioned to do so. The College is proud to be a partner in these important efforts.”

The Institute will bring together a breadth of faculty, professional staff, and research from across the University to study emerging cyber threats and risks. It will also be a resource to guide law and policy makers in the areas of cybersecurity, privacy and cyber risk management. In addition, the Institute will work to build partnerships with industry to help advance their cyber infrastructure protection and incident response.

“The Institute will act as an information repository by providing consultants and facilitating regional sharing,” said Norman Balchunas, the Institute’s coordinator and director of strategic solutions at Drexel’s College of Computing & Informatics. “This capability is critical to counter criminal and advanced persistent threats that can mean the loss of private financial information, or worse, tampering with supervisory controls of essential power, communication and safety networks.”

Researchers and students studying cyber-risk management will work and train in the Institute’s laboratories using simulations of cyber-attacks. The research lab is a 2,500 square-foot space with state-of-the-art computing capabilities that will allow for hands-on experience in protection, defense and attack operations without disturbing real-world networks.

“Drexel is committed to using our expertise to meet critical societal challenges like cybersecurity,” said John A. Fry, Drexel’s president. “With several of our academic strengths now concentrated in our new College of Computing and Informatics, the time is right for the College, through the Cybersecurity Institute, to take the lead on interdisciplinary research and policy development that help keep America’s information systems functioning and secure.”

The Institute is one of several Drexel’s initiatives to address challenges in big data and cybersecurity, including becoming a National Science Foundation Center for Visual and Decision Informatics in 2012 and the creation of the Applied Informatics Group in the College of Computing & Informatics in 2011.

For more information about the Institute, please visit www.cci.drexel.edu/cybersecurity.