Threats range from credit card and banking security to warfare threats against the United States. Adding to the complexity is the fact that some threats are intentional, like hacking, or unintentional, resulting from an event like a natural disaster prompting a computer malfunction that takes down critical services.
That reality is prompting a need for greater education in the area of cybersecurity. To meet the growing demand to fight cybercrime, the U.S. Navy has established a program at The University of New Mexico to train ROTC cadets in cybersecurity.
“Engaging University of New Mexico ROTC Cadets in Cybersecurity Research” began Jan. 1. The program, part of the Office of Naval Research Navy ROTC Cybersecurity Training Program, will provide hands-on training to cadets as they earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering or computer science. The program is also open to cadets in the Air Force ROTC and Army ROTC at UNM.
The selected cohort of cadets will be performing paid undergraduate research in the laboratories of three School of Engineering faculty members: Fernando Moreu, who is the principal investigator on the project and an assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering; Christopher Lamb, research assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Francesco Sorrentino, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
“This project is a real multidisciplinary approach to cybersecurity,” Moreu said. “The three of us are looking at various projects that we plan to interrelate along the way while advancing areas that emphasize student learning, hands-on involvement, and undergraduate research. We hope to contribute and train our soldiers to become leaders in secure, reliable, safer cyber-physical systems, with an emphasis on outdoor systems, infrastructure, and power grids that need to be protected. We are thrilled to contribute with our research and education through service to our ROTC cadets.”
Moreu said the emphasis will be hands-on in sensors development and design of their protection to attacks and/or failure; programming, protecting, and cost-efficiently managing data, wireless sensors networks, and systems.