NSA Names NYU School of Engineering to Exclusive List of Cyber Security Programs

First in New York to be Designated an NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations

The National Security Agency and the United States Cyber Command have named the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations, the first in New York earning the designation and one of only a handful in the country to earn all three Center of Excellence designations from NSA.

The new honor signals that a school maintains a deeply technical, interdisciplinary graduate-level program with extensive opportunities for hands-on learning. Launched in 2012, the Center of Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Operations is the third such program overseen by the agency. The CAE in Information Assurance Education was launched in 2001, and the NYU School of Engineering became one of the first schools in the country to earn that designation. The CAE in Information Assurance Research was initiated in 2007, with the NYU School of Engineering earning that honor, as well, shortly thereafter. All three are designed to cultivate cyber professionals, and the program is an outgrowth of the President's National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education.

“The NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering was one of the first schools in the nation to introduce a cyber security program,” said Professor Nasir Memon, head of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. “We are very proud to have earned the National Center of Excellence designation in all three available areas and will continue to provide the hands-on interdisciplinary education and research support so vital for our country’s next generation of cyber security experts.”

The school launched its master’s program in cyber security in 2009, just weeks after the Pentagon revealed it had spent $100 million over the prior six months to clean up damage from Internet attacks and other network problems. Since then, more than 100 NYU School of Engineering master’s degree recipients have gone on to careers as developers of security products, security application programmers, security analysts, penetration testers, vulnerability analysts, and security architects. The school also offers numerous cyber security courses and extra-curricular opportunities for undergraduates.

Its cyber security program was previously singled out by the Sloan Consortium as the outstanding graduate online program.

NYU is also home to the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Security and Privacy (CRISSP), which brings together experts in psychology, law, public policy and business from across the university to work alongside computer science and engineering faculty and students for cutting-edge research. CRISSP builds new approaches to security and privacy that recognize that technology alone cannot provide the information security and privacy needed in today’s interconnected world.

Among the landmark initiatives of the NYU School of Engineering is Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW), the largest student-run cyber security event in the nation, with numerous competitions, a research conference that attracts some of the biggest names in the industry, and a career fair with an impressive list of corporate partners. The Capture the Flag challenge alone at CSAW 2013 drew some 13,500 competitors from 86 countries. To engage more high school students—particularly girls—in the fun of cyber security through CSAW, the school hosts summer bootcamps for teachers and high school girls, supported by NSA, the National Science Foundation, and the Sloan Foundation. The CSAW competitions include one solely for high school students on digital forensics.

CSAW is supported by the school’s Information Systems and Internet Security (ISIS) Laboratory, an offensive security research environment where students gain a unique perspective and a proper foundation that allows them to master any area of cyber security. The lab is run solely by students, advised by hackers-in-residence and industry partners, and is directed by founder Nasir Memon.

The designation certificate was presented during an awards ceremony this week at the 18th Annual Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education in San Diego, California.