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UAlbany Recognized for Excellence in Cyber Defense Research

The Center for Forensics Analysis of Complex Energy and Transportation Systems (FACETS) at UAlbany's School of Business is the focal point for cyber security research on campus.

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 13, 2018) – The University at Albany’s School of Business has been home to New York’s first four-year digital forensics program since 2013. Now, the National Security Agency (NSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have recognized the school for significant contributions in meeting the national demand for cyber defense research.

UAlbany has been officially designated as a “National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research” (CAE-R), an honor which it carries through the academic year 2022. It is one of four schools in New York State to receive the NSA research designation. The others are New York University, the University of Buffalo and Syracuse University.

“The School of Business is very proud to have achieved this designation. Cyber security and digital forensics programs are very successful in the school with strong enrollments and funded research,” said School of Business Interim Dean Hany Shawky.

Cyber security research and education at UAlbany has matured to the point where it’s developing a growing number of professionals with cyber defense research expertise who could contribute “to the protection of the national information infrastructure,” according to the designation.

Prof. Sanjay Goel, who spearheaded the effort for this designation, has received several million dollars in cyber security research funding through federal agencies and foundations, including the National Science Foundation, IARPA, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Dept. of Commerce EDA, and the James S. McDonnell Foundation. School of Business research is impacting organizational security, national security, and individual privacy.

Housed in the School of Business is the Center for Forensics Analysis of Complex Energy and Transportation Systems (FACETS) of which Dr. Goel is director. FACETS is the focal point for cyber security research on campus. Goel is currently building a cyber innovation laboratory that will allow cyber-attacks to be simulated and this will help in building new innovations for cyber defense and collaborate with regional cyber security industry.

The University graduated its first crop of digital forensics students in 2016.

“There is an incredible demand for digital forensic experts to handle the huge cybersecurity challenges that are constantly expanding every day across all industries,” said Goel, who conceived the digital forensics program and has overseen its development since its inception.

The digital forensics program provides critical training in the protection, defense, and investigation of information and systems in industries such as public accounting, IT consulting, government, healthcare, technology, and not-for-profit environments. It equips students with technology skills in network, hardware, software, and law applications, and build core competency in the areas of data preservation, examination, and discovery across criminal, accounting, and financial forensics.

One key element of UAlbany’s digital forensics program is its ability to harness the strengths of the University’s other schools and colleges, including the School of Criminal Justice, the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, and the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity.

The School also partners with major accounting firms such as EY and PricewaterhouseCoopers, consulting firm Accenture and the New York State Police. A cyber security advisory board includes members from local area firms as well as from New York City where a lot of graduates from the School are employed.

In 2015, the School created a pipeline for a digital forensics education for students earning associates degrees at several of New York’s community colleges, including Hudson Valley, Tompkins Cortland, Columbia-Greene, Herkimer and Broome County.

Students who graduate from UAlbany’s program are prepared to meet the information forensics and security needs for companies across all sectors of the economy, including health care, government, financial services, and private industry.

“Identity theft, insider trading, information security breaches, cyber-attacks, industrial espionage, financial fraud, and terrorism all leave behind digital ‘fingerprints’ in the form of electronic data, such as from computers, networks, cloud services, GPS systems, and smartphones; the fastest growing application of digital forensics is in investigating and responding to security breaches in organizations which is the future of cyber security” said Goel.

Similar to DNA forensic scientists in the physical world, digital forensic analysts understand how to follow these fingerprints to investigate incidents and track activities in the electronic domain.

“At UAlbany, our students are preparing to bridge the information gap our nation faces, and help protect our national information infrastructure,” said Goel.

In addition to the B.S. in Digital Forensics, the School of Business also offers an MBA concentration in cyber security and a 15 credit graduate certificate in information security.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.