The University of Texas at San Antonio is collaborating on an $800,000 grant from the federal government for cyber security research.
The sizable contribution from the Federal Emergency Management Agency isn’t going to student programs, instead it's going to the National Cyber Security Preparedness Consortium, a joint venture between UTSA -- which is the lead -- Texas A&M, Memphis University, University of Arkansas and Norwhich University.
Gregory White, the director of the Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) at UTSA, said the five schools makeup a research team whose goal is to create protection programs governmental entities like state and county offices.
“The consortium is designed to help those individuals build those viable and sustainable programs through training and education,” White said.
The FEMA grant is meant to create the development of a community cyber security program. White said it’s the basics.
“Everybody wants to be secure but most folks don’t know where to start,” he said. “That’s what our course is designed to do, to help people get started.”
Because technology can become outdated, part of the funds are being used to update existing programs, two of which are called Comprehensive Cyber Terrorism and Cyberterrisom First Responder.
“Some of them are awareness-level courses, some of them are more hands on to help people know what they need to do to defend themselves and they’re systems,” White said.
All of these classes are designed to be made free of charge to these governmental agencies to train their already existing or newly hired staff.
“There’s a lot more that’s needed and we’re hoping that this is an indication that DHS (Department of Homeland Security) is on board now for cyber security and this consortium will continue to be funded for as long as it’s needed, which is, at the rate things are going, it’s going to be awhile,” White said.
The grant will be distributed for three years. The CIAS was started at UTSA in 2001.