UofM Will Share $3 Million Grant for Cyber Security Preparedness

October 6, 2016 - The Center for Information Assurance (CfIA) at the University of Memphis will share a $3 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Association with four other universities.

On Sept. 23, the DHS/FEMA awarded a Cyber Security Grant (CTG) to the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium (NCPC), in which CfIA is a core member. The other partner universities are the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), Texas A&M University, Norwich University (Vermont) and the University of Arkansas.

Administered by FEMA, the CTG is a competitive grant awarded annually to entities that play an important role in the implementation of the National Preparedness System by supporting the building, sustainment and delivery of core capabilities essential to achieving the national preparedness goal of a secure and resilient nation. FEMA provides the funding via cooperative agreements to partners like UTSA to develop and deliver training to prepare communities to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and natural, man-made and technological hazards.

This collaborative project will be led by UTSA; CfIA will receive a sub-award of $503,000 for three years to develop research based best practices for cyber identity and authentication. The project will deliver a unique and innovative approach with "tabletop" scenarios supplementing online training to demonstrate participants' knowledge and skill sets to protect and defend systems with different authentication tools and techniques. The online training will assist state and federal jurisdictions with coordination and management of response efforts between emergency response organizations and critical infrastructure IT personnel necessary to prevent cyber incidents.

On May 16, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Rep. Joaquin Castro's bill that was inspired by National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium, The National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act (H.R. 4743), which allows nonprofits, including universities, to work more closely[1] with DHS to address cyber security risks and incidents at the state and local level. Earlier this month, Sen. John Cornyn introduced companion legislation for consideration in the U.S. Senate.

Dr. Dipankar Dasgupta, CfIA director, said, "Because of the center's multi-faceted activities, the University of Memphis is at the forefront of the research, education and outreach on cyber security in the region, and has continually maintained its designation as a National Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CD) and in Research (CAE-R) by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security."

Contact: Gabrielle Maxey