Wednesday, September 02, 2015

UTSA Discusses Cybersecurity with Government and Business Leaders at Washington, D.C. Meetings

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(July 14, 2014) -- UTSA President Ricardo Romo led a contingent of university officials to Washington, D.C., the week of July 13 to discuss critical issues in cybersecurity and UTSA's growing capabilities in cybersecurity and cloud computing.

UTSA has emerged as a national leader in cybersecurity research. Its cybersecurity education and outreach program was recently ranked No. 1 in the nation by security professionals in a Ponemon Institute survey conducted for Hewlett-Packard. UTSA is also recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a leader in the field.

The delegation included Mauli Agrawal, vice president for research; Cory Hallam, UTSA chief commercialization officer; Greg White, director of the UTSA Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security; Gerry Sanders, dean of the College of Business; Bob McKinley, associate vice president for economic development; and Paul Rad, director of applied research in cloud computing.

They met with representatives of the Cyber Team of the White House, briefed several members of the Texas Congressional delegation and held discussions with the Department of Commerce, Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Homeland Security. The delegation also met with private-sector industry leaders including Dell, Seagate, Halliburton, Exxon Mobil and Hewlett Packard.

"Collaboration between industry, government and higher education is critical to a strong cyberdefense," said Romo. "The work UTSA is doing with our partners is helping to keep the United States at the forefront of research and innovation."

UTSA is at the heart of San Antonio's expanding cybersecurity community, working directly with the military and industry including with the 24th Air Force Cyber Command – the largest cyber command outside of Washington, D.C. -- the National Security Agency, Rackspace, Raytheon, Microsoft and others.

The UTSA Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) was established in 2001 to meet a need for an academic epicenter for cybersecurity education in Texas. The center led the first Dark Screen Cyber Security tabletop exercise in 2002, making San Antonio the first city in the nation to conduct a mock cyberterrorism exercise. UTSA is recognized as a leader in cybersecurity testing, and its experts offer training and preparatory exercises to help organizations across the United States prevent, detect and respond to large-scale cyberattacks.

Researchers at the UTSA Institute for Cyber Security (ICS) have a deep knowledge of cybersecurity models, architectures, mechanisms and protocols, and technologies. The institute built and operates the ICS FlexCloud, one of the first dedicated academic cloud computing research environments focused on studying security challenges surrounding cloud computing.

The institute is also home to the ICS FlexFarm, an Internet-connected environment providing researchers with a dedicated platform to conduct academic research on malware programs and methods for improving malware detection, faster response times to malware infections and effective malware removal techniques with a special focus on botnets.

One of the largest open clouds in academia resides at UTSA and supports advanced computing and data analytics research. The UTSA Open Cloud is one of just two existing clouds in the Open Compute Project and the only certification center in the United States for new Open Cloud Project working designs and hardware.

"UTSA's program brings together experts from science, engineering and business to conduct research and educate the next generation of cyber security professionals in digital forensics, cyber behavior, network defense, access control, security policy, data provenance, cyberenergy and malware detection," said Agrawal.

The three-day trip concluded with a reception hosted by Mexican Ambassador H.E. Eduardo Medina Mora at the Mexican Cultural Institute honoring UTSA for its cybersecurity ranking and its recognition as the National 2014 Small Business Development Center of the Year.

"These meetings illustrate the interest government and industry has in our cyber programs and the research excellence they find at UTSA," Romo said.

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Did You Know?

Football standouts make Roadrunner history

For Ashaad Mabry and Triston Wade, football is not just a passing fancy. Both players were part of the UTSA football program almost from the beginning. When UTSA opens the 2015 season Thursday at Arizona, it will be the first time the Roadrunners take the field without them. But Mabry and Wade will still be playing football; their uniforms will just be a different color.

Mabry, a defensive tackle from San Antonio's MacArthur High School, was an honorable mention All-Conference USA selection his final two seasons as a Roadrunner and second among the team's defensive linemen with 49 tackles last year. Wade, a defensive back from Tyler, was the most decorated player in school history. He was a semifinalist for the 2014 Jim Thorpe Award – for the nation's top defensive back – a three-time all-conference honoree and two-year team captain who set a school record of 293 tackles in his career. Both men had outstanding college careers that allowed them to make UTSA history.

Did you know? Mabry and Wade both agreed to terms as undrafted free agents with the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, respectively, becoming the first UTSA players to move to the professional ranks.

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