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Steve Chaplin
University Communications

Last modified: Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Feds call for cybersecurity plan; IU announces new Security Informatics master's degree

First class will include international Fulbright Scholar

June 9, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- During a visit to Indiana last year, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama announced his intentions to create a new "cyber czar" post to "strengthen our cyber defenses in the 21st Century." Indiana University's School of Informatics faculty were already on the same mission.

With oversubscribed undergraduate courses in computer security since 2006 and national job opportunities in cybersecurity climbing to near the top of all information technology offerings, the nation's first School of Informatics at the time was already positioning itself to meet Obama's challenge.


The IU School of Informatics will welcome its first class of students in fall 2009 to its new Security Informatics master's degree program. The new degree comes on the heels of President Barack Obama's call for a nationwide public-private effort to enchance cybersecurity.

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That foresight and planning comes to fruition this fall when the School of Informatics welcomes its first class of students -- one of whom includes a Fulbright Scholar from Bahrain -- to its new Master of Science in Security Informatics program. The program will be directed by Jean Camp, an associate professor of Informatics.

Reflecting on the recent approval of the new program by the Indiana Commission on Higher Education, and on President Obama's most recent cybersecurity announcement of May 29, IU Informatics Chair Geoffrey Fox said the university is now poised to offer world-class opportunities in a field destined for growth.

"We've seen the writing on the wall for some time with respect to an expanding need for cybersecurity professionals, and I think the president's announcement last week underscores the timeliness of Indiana University's decision to bring this new program on board," Fox said. "What makes this expansion most exciting is to know from experience that we have students waiting who recognize this opportunity and are excited and motivated to be part of the Security Informatics program."

It was no surprise to Camp that an additional focus of last week's announcement that Obama will name a cyber czar was his call for a broad-based education campaign about cybersecurity.

"We will begin a national campaign to promote cybersecurity awareness and digital literacy, from our board rooms to our classrooms, and to build a digital workforce for the 21st century," the president said in his recent speech.

Camp responded that IU will be well-positioned to participate in that campaign by preparing highly trained security technology experts for the world market.

"We'd like to see 25 students entering the program each year. The design of the program is unique in that, as opposed to classic electives, we've put together concentrations in financial risk, criminal justice or security education," she explained. "We will then want to see them receive internships and jobs where understanding the security requires understanding the business context."

IU Bloomington already has a deep set of assets in place that will complement Security Informatics students, Camp said. Those include the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research (CACR), the Global Network Operations Center (GNOC) for the Abilene backbone of Internet 2, the Advanced Network Management Lab (ANML), the Research and Education Information Sharing and Analysis Center (REN-ISAC) and the Open Source Laboratory at IU's Pervasive Technology Institute.

"The development of this graduate program in Security Informatics will create additional research and educational opportunities between all of these entities and the School of Informatics," Camp said. "But let's be clear, we're not trying to graduate people who will be research assistants. This is going to be an internship-focused program and there is no thesis requirement."

Federal agencies including the Federal Reserve Bank and the Federal Bureau of Investigation already have either School of Informatics graduate students with security interests working as interns or have expressed interest in taking new ones on, she added.

"Nationally, Internet technology-related occupations are the fastest growing of all occupations, and are expected to remain so," Camp said. "Security and privacy trends also indicate that Security Informatics will rise not only with, but also above this tide."

To speak with Fox or Camp, please contact Steve Chaplin, University Communications, at 812-856-1896 or