- Feature Stories
- News Flash
- Inspire Innovation
University Launches CyLab
The numbers are startling. Over 114,000 computer virus attacks and computer breaches in 2003. More than $140 billion in damages worldwide, double the previous year.
The potential damage is even worse. Cascading infrastructure collapses, from communications, to utilities, to emergency response networks, could cripple large regions of the country.
To lead the fight against cybercrime and cyberterrorism, Carnegie Mellon has launched a university-wide initiative called CyLab. Working with government and industry, it will develop cutting-edge tools, technologies and practices to secure the Internet and telecommunications systems, eliminate computer viruses, and protect one’s personal privacy and identity. CyLab will work to ensure safety for every computer user, from individuals at home to small businesses and large corporations.
CyLab’s creation makes Carnegie Mellon the only institution with substantial programs in cybersecurity research, education and practice. The lab builds upon Carnegie Mellon’s interdisciplinary problem-solving approach, integrating the Center for Computer and Communications Security, the Sustainable Computing Consortium and the Information Networking Institute (INI). It also works closely with CERT/CC, the world’s first and foremost authority on Internet security, which is housed within the Software Engineering Institute.
Altogether, CyLab engages 120 experts in information assurance, public policy, response and prediction, representing the College of Engineering, the School of Computer Science, the Heinz School and CERT/CC, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense. CERT/CC is also a partner with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the activities of U.S.-CERT, a national coordination point to prevent, protect from, and respond to Internet attacks.
CyLab’s co-directors are Pradeep Khosla, head of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the INI, and Richard Pethia, director of CERT/CC. One of their goals over the next three years is to make 10 million people around the world savvy about cybersecurity.
“Cybersecurity is a problem for all of us,” said Carnegie Mellon President Jared Cohon. “Every time anyone anywhere logs onto a computer, they become part of a network at risk. And, though they may not be aware of it, they contribute to that risk.”
Khosla stressed the importance of educating the public to recognize and thwart security threats. CyLab's education program will be directed by the INI. Nonprofit organizations, schools and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will assist in disseminating information to the public.
Pethia said the increasing occurrences of identity theft and computer viruses have wreaked havoc on computer systems in the past few years. He said the problem won't be solved without advances in technology, and CyLab is expected to lead the way in that endeavor.