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­sm Will Teach Students How to Hack, and How to Stop It

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A microcomputer used for data monitoring.

The University of Southern Maine has started a new cybersecurity curriculum.

Credit: Logan Werlinger/Portland Press Herald Staff Photographer

The University of Southern Maine (USM) recently launched a new cybersecurity curriculum in which students will examine technical, legal, and ethical issues surrounding the collection, sharing, and theft of sensitive data.

USM says its new Cyber Security Lab will be useful for students seeking jobs in the high-tech industry. "It allows students to think about what [data] security means and how it fits into modern society," says USM professor Julien Murphy.

USM received $1 million in grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Maine Technology Institute to fund the lab, notes USM professor Glenn Wilson. The grants called for the university to develop teaching modules that could be introduced into a variety of university classes in Maine and other states, and to educate the public at large about the importance of data security and how to maintain it. "They're getting experience on the ground, doing things that require creative thinking," says USM's Stephen Houser.

The lab also enables more experienced students to show beginners how cybercriminals perpetrate their crimes, notes USM student Alex Weeman.

Wilson says USM faculty and staff are considering the possibility of establishing a standalone degree in cybersecurity.

From Portland Press Herald (ME)
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