congressional visitors

UTSA security center hosts congressional visit

(Jan. 30, 2004)--The University of Texas at San Antonio Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) staff hosted a tour and roundtable discussion with congressmen and local information technology leaders Friday at the 1604 Campus.

Among the visitors were Congressman Jim Turner, D-Crockett, ranking member of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security and Armed Services Committee and Democratic Congressmen Ciro Rodriguez and Charlie Gonzales of San Antonio.

Pictured are Gonzalez, CIAS Technical Director Greg White, UTSA President Ricardo Romo, Rodriguez and Turner.

The group visited the CIAS laboratory and witnessed a demonstration in steganography, which involves technology terrorists could use to implant hidden messages in photos and send through e-mail. CIAS also has research underway in biometrics, data mining, wireless encryption, intrusion detection and database intrusion.

"The technology offered here is truly outstanding," said Turner. "These are the best and brightest minds in the country and they are on the cutting edge in research in not only protecting our country but also keeping us economically strong."

CIAS currently has 40 graduate students enrolled in its information systems program and 20 students enrolled in its newly created information assurance program for undergraduates.

In addition to the college coursework, CIAS personnel are working with local colleges and school districts to promote the Information Technology Security Academy. High school students can receive as many as 30 semester hours of college credit upon graduation. The academy has its first graduating class this semester.

"We have 15- and 16 year-olds in the program that will go on to college and graduate with enough experience to obtain a security clearance," said Romo. "When they graduate, they can go directly into the workforce instead of having to wait all that time to obtain their clearance priveleges."

Following the tour, the legislative group discussed information security and bioterrorism with community business and civic leaders.

CIAS has been designated by the National Security Agency as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education.  The designation has been granted to only 50 programs in the nation. UTSA was the first of three in Texas to receive this certification.

--Kris Rodriguez

University Communications
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