Drexel’s Cybersecurity Institute Receives $3 Million Naming Gift

An eye being retina-scanned

The Isaac and Carol Auerbach Family Foundation awarded $3 million to be paid over five years to Drexel’s Isaac L. Auerbach Cybersecurity Institute. Steven Weber, PhD, will be director of the newly renamed institute, which reports to the Office of Research.

“With this generous gift, Drexel honors a pioneer of early computing and a Drexel University alumnus, Dr. Isaac L. Auerbach, by funding an institute whose purpose is to educate students on how to create more secure systems and to deploy tools to defend computing assets ranging from personal handheld devices to our nation’s critical infrastructure,” said Spiros Mancoridis, PhD, interim dean of the College of Computing & Infomatics and a professor of computer science. “Moreover, the Isaac L. Auerbach Cybersecurity Institute becomes the home to interdisciplinary research, drawing from the expertise of faculty from five different colleges, whose products will help make our computing systems more secure.”

Isaac L. Auerbach, an early advocate of computer technology, graduated from Drexel  with a degree in electrical engineering in 1943 and was vice chairman of the University’s board of trustees from 1990 until his death in 1992.

Since its launch in 2013, the Cybersecurity Institute has become the vanguard organization for Drexel’s research, educational and entrepreneurial activities in cybersecurity. The institute’s goals are to further educate cyber-intelligent experts to counter threats and risk, as well as to advance professional cyber-risk management in policy, privacy and enforcement to counter both criminal and advanced threats associated with cyberattacks.

The institute’s approach to cybersecurity goes beyond traditional wired networks, by exploring and analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of our ubiquitous mobile communications and social media. Research is also being done into the ways to exploit big data to enhance security.

“The wonderful benefits of our highly networked world also come with the critical need to protect those networks and the devices connected to them,” said Aleister J. Saunders, PhD, senior vice provost for research. “This generous gift from the Auerbach Family Foundation provides the Cybersecurity Institute with a very solid foundation to expand its research and educational missions. We anticipate that this will lead to the creation of new knowledge as well as training future generations of thought leaders in this critical area."

 The $3 million gift will allow the institute to continue to develop new research proposals and educational programs, as well as fund a post-doctorate fellow position.