[ISN] Student 'soldiers' help feds fight cyberterrorism

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Sun Aug 19 2001 - 23:49:11 PDT

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    Knight Ridder Tribune 
    Aug. 18, 2001
    TULSA, Okla. -- The first group of cyberterrorism students reporting
    for "duty" this week at the University of Tulsa pulls together an
    eclectic mix of computer talent.
    The 14 students were hand-picked as part of the University of Tulsa's
    $5 million federally funded program to conduct cyberterrorism research
    and to help develop "soldiers" for a national "cybercorps."
    The university was designated as a Center for Information Security by
    the National Security Agency. The NSA has designated 14 such centers
    at public and private schools across the United States, including
    Carnegie Mellon University, Iowa State University, Purdue University,
    the University of Idaho and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey,
    The University of Tulsa cadets have qualified for full scholarships
    for master's or bachelor's degrees in computer science, said John
    Hale, a TU computer science professor and a co-director of TU's Center
    for Information Security.
    The students are expected to graduate in two years, and then to work
    for the federal government for two years. TU's fall 2001 semester
    begins Monday.
    The group includes graduate student Julie Evans, 42. The working
    mother said she enrolled in her first computer programming course in
    1975, when Apple was just a seed. Determined to graduate, she attended
    night classes for 21 years, finishing her computer science degree at
    the University of Central Oklahoma in 1998, she said.
    "This is a dream come true for me," said Evans, who became intrigued
    by computers as a sophomore in Colorado. "It's my turn. I finally get
    to go full time. It won't take 21 years to finish this degree."
    Student Howard Barnes, 63, retired from Boeing Corp. in 1995 as a
    software engineer. Barnes, a Kansan with a bachelor's degree in
    physics, said he thought it was "time for a change." He and his wife
    of 44 years, Joyce, are moving to Tulsa.
    Another "cadet," 30-year-old Rick Ayers, played lead guitar for the
    rock group Apache Rain.
    Ayers is a TU senior majoring in computer information systems. He
    toured the western United States with Apache Rain until 1993, covering
    songs from the '60s through the early '90s.
    TU has also recruited younger students such as Brett Edgar, 20, Ryan
    Larson, 20, and Kris Daley, 21. All are computer science
    undergraduates with sterling grades in math and computer science.
    Edgar, of Tulsa, said he learned to program in Logo and Apple Basics
    when he was in first grade in 1987. Larson said he programmed a
    calculator at age 13.
    "The common element among all of them is their commitment to national
    service," Hale said. "In addition to their qualifications, we were
    looking for students with a commitment to a national goal of
    controlling or eliminating cyberterrorism."
    The research will involve developing network firewalls and detection
    systems to protect telephone, banking and other critical
    communications systems connected to the Internet.
    Problems with hackers and attacks such as that carried out by the
    recent Code Red worm underscore the urgent need for better defenses,
    Hale said.
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