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U of M Re-Designated as Center of Excellence in Information Assurance Education University News
For release: May 7, 2009

For press information, contact Dr. Dipankar Dasgupta, 901-678-4147

The National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have re-designated the University of Memphis as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education for the academic years 2009-2014. The official certification will be presented to the U of M’s Center for Information Assurance (CfIA) at the annual conference of the Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education June 3 in Seattle. When the U of M received its original designation in 2006, it was the first university in Tennessee, public or private, to be formally certified.

CfIA is a multi-disciplinary national center, housing a broad range of information security offerings that include training, awareness, education and research. The founding co-directors, Dr. Dipankar Dasgupta and Dr. Judith Simon, have been working to develop a multidisciplinary program by bringing together computer science, management information systems, and law and criminal justice to build broader knowledge on cyber security issues and solutions.

The center’s $4 million ACT project is a collaboration with Vanderbilt University and Sparta Corp., and involves development of a multi-track, multi-level cyber security training program which uses state-of-the-art learning technology for online cyber security education. Under this project, nine courses in three tracks have been developed and are offered free of charge to U.S. citizens. These courses are available at ACT Online,, and are now used by 44 states and several universities.

In addition to education and outreach, Dasgupta’s most recent research efforts include the Password Immunizer, a software tool that filters out invalid users before allowing them to access a standard password verification system, and Security Visualization Tools, which provide a visual profile of frequent network attack patterns.

The University of Memphis is in the forefront of information security research, education and outreach in the region. As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, CfIA hosted the first annual Cyber Security Expo in October at the FedEx Institute of Technology. More than 120 attendees from industry, local and national law enforcement and academia gathered to discuss and attend lectures and presentation focusing on the latest cyber security threats and trends across the nation.

More information is available from Dasgupta at 901-678-4147 or Simon at 901-678-4613, by email at, or online at

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