National program provides real cybersecurity experience
University of Arizona engineering students participate each spring in the Information Security Research and Education Collaborative. Universities that the National Security Agency has designated National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity are connected with government agencies, national labs and federally funded research and development centers. Program goals include improving cybersecurity workforce skills, meeting the need for more workers, and engaging the students in problems of national interest.
A team of University of Arizona graduate students — Youssef Elsakkary, Arminda Estrada and Ivan Kawaminami — was matched in spring 2022 with technical directors Jeremy Kepner and Hayden Jananthan from the MIT Lincoln Laboratory. To help organizations defend against cyberattacks, the trio took on the challenge of better identifying the cyber characteristics of large-scale network data, using snapshots of darkspace internet data that was present when the information was collected.
“We were able to get very close to real-world data analysis. This experience and research gave us the tools and knowledge to analyze enormous amounts of data and simultaneously helped us understand what the data meant,” said Estrada, who is pursuing a doctoral degree in electrical and computer engineering.