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College receives grant for computer security

Posted On : October 27th, 2008

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A Sacramento State professor received a $45,000 grant from Intel to help improve lab facilities for students learning about computer security.



Bill Mitchell, who teaches in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, received the grant this month. The lab will be upgraded with dual-core Intel workstations and laptops, printers and high-speed network communication adapters.



The College of Engineering and Computer Science offers several courses in information security such as cryptography, network security, computer forensics and computer security and privacy. In 2007, it became one of only 87 universities across the country to be designated as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Security by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.



“We teach several undergraduate and graduate computer science classes covering the principles and implementation of security,” says Mitchell. “Our students study the technical basis for security, such as how encryption of data actually works, the tools that bad guys use in system attacks and defenses that are available.”



The federal government initiated the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Security in 1998 as a way to protect the critical infrastructure that is supported by computers throughout the country. Power, telecommunication, banking and transportation systems are some examples of systems controlled by computers that when left vulnerable, can be attacked.



Prior to the widespread use of the Internet and the web, almost all security problems and threats involved individual systems, says Mitchell. The risk is now greater because of the impact to businesses, government, industry and private communications such as medical records.



“Unfortunately any computer or device connected to the Internet is routinely exposed to attacks and abuses,” he said.



For more information on the grant, contact Prof. Mitchell at (916) 278-6946.

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