Eastern Michigan University named as first Michigan Cyber Range site

Merit Network to install virtual realm where information assurance students and professionals can hone their skills in fighting computer hacking and cyber terrorism.

by By Patty Giorgio and Pamela Young, Published August 10, 2012

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YPSILANTI - Merit Network Inc. announced today that the first site for the Michigan Cyber Range is being installed at Eastern Michigan University (EMU).

Merit Network is building the Michigan Cyber Range to prepare cybersecurity professionals for detecting, preventing, and thwarting cyber-attacks in a real-world setting. Like a test track or a firing range, the Michigan Cyber Range will enable individuals and organizations to conduct "live fire" exercises, simulations that will test the detection and reaction skills of participants in a variety of situations.

"Merit Network is excited to partner with Eastern Michigan University on this significant project. Cybersecurity is increasingly important in today's information age, and we are proud to play a role in supporting its development. Our work together with Eastern Michigan University will enrich curriculum and deliver in-demand skills that will retain and create jobs in Michigan," stated Merit Network president & CEO Dr. Donald Welch.

Merit Network, Inc. is collaborating with Eastern Michigan University to establish the initial site for the Michigan Cyber Range. Racks of equipment, located in the University's data center, will provide the computing power to the Range's cybersecurity educational, training, and testing programs. EMU's position as a National Security Agency Center of Academic Excellence made it a natural choice for the Range's first site, where it will be used in the University's Information Assurance program as well as state and regional cybersecurity courses taught by Merit.

"I'm really looking forward to working with EMU," said Merit's Executive Director of Research and Cybersecurity, Dr. Joe Adams. "The unique opportunity to combine Merit's extensive network and collaboration potential with EMU's solid academic foundation is sure to yield benefits to both partners and the state of Michigan."

Eastern Michigan University partners with the National Initiative for Cyber Security Education (NICE) to offer degrees in information assurance at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral level.

Information assurance (IA) is the practice of assuring quality of information and managing risks related to the use, processing, storage and transmission of information or data. It's a relatively new field that has developed from information and computer security.

EMU's goal is to promote higher education and research in information assurance, and produce a growing number of professionals with expertise to reduce vulnerability in the nation's information infrastructure.

The threat to digital information changes daily in terms of the number and sophistication, says Gerald Lawver, director of Eastern Michigan University's information assurance program.

"Never before in the history of our country has so much of our personal information been available on the Internet, in data bases, banking or our medical records," Lawver says. "It's critical that our coursework meets the requirements mandated by the Federal Government for workers who handle sensitive information. We also have a responsibility for network security and securing the critical infrastructure of our country."

Lawver says Eastern's program focuses on the concepts of confidentiality, integrity and availability of information.

"The program is demanding and Eastern Michigan University has a high reputation for delivering outstanding graduates to agencies that are looking for a few good people for positions of trust," Lawver says.

The Michigan Cyber Range will be an unclassified, logically-isolated system that leverages Merit's extensive research and education network.

Merit currently operates over 4,000 miles of fiber cable throughout the state of Michigan, reaching into the neighboring states of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio to connect to other regional research and education networks. Additionally, Merit, a member of Internet2, is able to collaborate with other academic, research, and not-for-profit organizations in the USA. To learn more about the Michigan Cyber Range go to:

www.merit.edu/cyberrange

About Merit Network

Merit Network Inc. is a nonprofit corporation owned and governed by Michigan's public universities, owns and operates America's longest-running regional research and education network. In 1966, Michigan's public universities created Merit as a shared resource to help meet their common need for networking assistance. Since its formation, Merit Network has remained on the forefront of research and education networking expertise and services. Merit provides high-performance networking and IT solutions to Michigan's public universities, colleges, K-12 organizations, libraries, state government, healthcare, and other non-profit organizations.

For more information: www.merit.edu

Merit media contact:

Elwood Downing
Merit Network, Inc.
Phone: (734)527-5702
Email: edowning@merit.edu

Pamela Young

pyoung@emich.edu

734.487.4400

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