UMBC is known for incubating future cyber entrepreneurs. With a new partnership, the university is introducing a startup’s technology to protect its own data, and get students ready to find threats.
Students will use technology created by Arlington, Va.–based BluVector to monitor the university’s network traffic. The company’s sensor technology is designed to detect network intrusion system uses machine learning that can be useful for the university, said Robert Thompson, a recent grad of UMBC’s Cyber Scholars program who now works with BluVector as a liaison for the partnership.
“Based on my experience, UMBC has to focus on ensuring that the machines and resources used by researchers are always up and running, to avoid the value they generate being compromised, and protecting the massive amount of information they hold,” Thompson told us via email. “Universities, because they are home to so many students, have to operate in a very different environment to a company, but have to protect many of the same types of assets.”
The technology is already in place at the university. There is potential for both a supervised research group with students, and a course to spur from this partnership, Thompson said. Along with protecting the network, the partnership is designed to help students get real-world experience. It could help provide training with an eye toward becoming Level 1 cybersecurity analysts.
“We hope exposure to analytics driven advanced threat detection solutions both sparks curiosity in data science and underscores the value of machine learning among our students as they enter the workforce to tackle the emerging and dynamic cyber threats we all face,” said Charles Nicholas, a professor of computer science and electrical engineering.