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About the Center

This section of the CIFA website contains information about the center. This is divided into the following sections:


Information technologies offer great promise for government administration and rapid communication, but they also present opportunities for crime, violations of privacy, and failures of information accessibility and accuracy. In an increasingly digitized society the educational and governmental institutions have an interest and obligation to inform, train, and educate students, public employees, and citizens in information privacy, security, assets, and infrastructure protection. To address this need, the University at Albany, State University of New York, and the State of New York, Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination and State Police, have in partnership created the New York State Center for Information Forensics and Assurance (CIFA).

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CIFA was founded in 2003 through funding by federal and state government grants including those from the National Science Foundation, the United States Department of Education, and the National Institute of Justice. As of 2004, CIFA also participates in the activities of the Northeast Regional Forensic Institute (NERFI), a collaborative partnership between the University at Albany and the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center designed to address a nationwide shortage of forensic scientists, which has created critical casework backlogs in labs across the nation. In 2005, the Capital Region Cyber Crime Partnership (CRCCP) was created. The New York State Police, district attorneys from eight counties in the Capital Region, the New York Prosecutors Training Institute (NYPTI), and members of CIFA are working together to specifically reduce computer crime case backlog through research in the computer forensics field and creation of training materials.

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CIFA is organizationally located within the University at Albany, College of Computing and Information Computer Science Department, but is run by a Management Team that includes the following members:

  • Robert Bangert Drowns, Associate Dean, School of Education and Associate Professor, Department of Educational Theory and Practice
  • Peter Bloniarz, Associate Provost for Informatics and Dean, College of Computing and Information
  • Jagdish Gangolly, Associate Professor, Department of Accounting & Law, School of Business
  • Sanjay Goel, Assistant Professor, Information Technology Management Department, School of Business
  • Laura Iwan, State Information Security Officer, New York State Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination
  • Fabio R. Auffant II, New York State Police Computer Crime Unit and NYS Digital & Multimedia Evidence TWG
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Teaching Hospital Model

CIFA's operation will emulate that of a teaching hospital where educational cases based on real problems provide learning opportunities for students and practitioners to hone their skills under the guidance of seasoned experts. In the figure below, this is referred to as case-based learning, which takes place in the Educational Research and Learning Laboratory. The knowledge gained can be applied to real problems using case-based reasoning. In addition, problems for which there are no known solutions will be the subject of research (problem-based learning), which takes place in the Collaborative Research Laboratory. As problems are solved, they will be developed into new cases as the basis for future student learning experiences. More details about the Educational Research and Learning Laboratory and Collaborative Research Laboratory are provided in the Facilities section.

Teaching Hospital Model, created by Sandy Schuman

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