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By Emily Greenhalgh
PBN Web Editor
SOUTH KINGSTOWN – The University of Rhode Island was awarded a $502,097 grant from the National Science Foundation to enhance education opportunities in computer network security at the high school and college levels, U.S. Rep. James R. Langevin announced Tuesday afternoon.
Under the direction of Victor Fay-Wolfe, the director of URI’s Digital Forensics and Cyber Security Center, URI will use the funds to create software to better educate and test students’ cybersecurity skills.
URI is slated to create a free or low-cost open-source cyber challenge software platform - along with accompanying educational and assessment materials - designed for teaching high school and college information assurance, cybersecurity and digital forensics courses.
According to the grant description released by Langevin’s office, the result of this project should represent a controlled teaching and assessment environment in which students can apply information assurance, cybersecurity and digital forensics concepts in realistic scenarios.
The project is described as “easy and inexpensive to install” while providing a “starting point that instructors can deploy to save substantial effort, and yet still tailor to their specific needs.”
“No matter how we act to strengthen network security policies, we cannot have effective cybersecurity without a highly skilled workforce, and right now there is a significant shortage of qualified professionals” said Langevin in prepared remarks.
“The University of Rhode Island, under the outstanding leadership of President Dooley, Dr. Alfonso, and Professor Wolfe, is setting a national standard in cyber education and giving Rhode Island an opportunity to excel in the field,” added Langevin. “This grant will take advantage of the expertise at the Digital Forensics and Cyber Security Center to improve cyber training across the nation.”