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University of Akron introducing a cyber security lab for students and local businesses

Professor Stanley Smith leads a class in the R.C. Musson and Katherine M. Musson Charitable Foundation ICS Testbed, where UA students have access to state-of-the-art equipment.
Posted at 8:00 AM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 08:00:37-05

AKRON, Ohio — With a click of the mouse, hackers can get a plethora of personal information or hold a computer system hostage with ransomware, and the need for cyber security continues to grow.

Recently, the city of Akron and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport have dealt with cyberattacks, but now the University of Akron is hoping to do its part to prevent those type of attacks.

The University of Akron now has a resource center that will serve as a cyberattack simulation lab.

In a press release from the college, the lab will “permit corporate information technology and operational technology professionals to practice identifying and responding to threats on an emulated network.”

The lab is the only one at a university in Ohio that businesses and students can use for workforce development and studying.

The college said the lab is specific to control systems in the manufacturing industry.

It’s a 2,000-square-foot facility on the 4th floor of the Polsky building. It can seat up to 40 people.

Dr. John Nicholas, a professor of computer information systems, said that cyber defense is paramount for our economy and national security and that the lab “will allow UA to work with our local industry partners to develop training to help not only their IT team learn more about operations and technical cyber defense,“ he said in a press release.

Nearly 200 students are enrolled in the university’s cybersecurity degree which was introduced last school year.