About the Center


While information technologies offer great promise for communication and innovation, 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). CIFA is organizationally located within the University at Albany, College of Business.


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. CIFA is 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.

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. Referred to as case-based learning, the knowledge gained is applied to real problems using case-based reasoning, and problems for which there are no known solutions are the subjects of research (problem-based learning). As problems are solved, they will be developed into new cases as the basis for future student learning experiences. More details about the cybersecurity laboratories can be found in the Facilities section.