In a networked world, cybersecurity challenges are more than just technical problems. Cybersecurity reaches into every aspect of our society. As critical infrastructure, from healthcare to the power grid, comes to rely more heavily on computerized technology, it is imperative that cybersecurity practitioners stay ahead of evolving threats.
Key challenges in cybersecurity
Our interdisciplinary research center allows us to develop data-driven solutions that intersect with four major challenges facing cybersecurity professionals:
- Technical complexity: Growth in connectivity and mobile computing requires making devices secure across a growing range of access technologies.
- Business implementation: Cybersecurity solutions need to be affordable, scalable and practical for today's organizations.
- Threat awareness: From strong passwords to online privacy, individuals and IT professionals need to stay informed about the evolving cybersecurity environment.
- Skilled workforce: There is currently a shortage of trained professionals capable of implementing solutions to cybersecurity challenges in different domains.
Through our research, education and outreach programs, the Cybersecurity Center is developing industry-oriented solutions to these challenges.
Cybersecurity research at the University of Nevada, Reno
Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno tackle cybersecurity from a range of perspectives. Our main areas of focus include:
- Secure and dependable mobile networking
- Data and user privacy
- Network security management
- Organizational behavior and decision making
- Sociopolitical contexts of disaster
- Cybersecurity literacy
On the technical side of things, researchers in computer science and engineering are exploring how best to manage large mobile networks, which must handle significant traffic and be dependably secure even in case of natural disasters or other emergencies.
As our daily interactions move to the digital world, there is extensive information that could be recorded by computing devices. Hence, user's trust in these systems and protection of user data becomes crucial. Additionally, user privacy is an open-ended challenge that is shaped by the type of data that is recorded and by the users concerns.
The networks also have a social component. The behavior of individuals in the network matters in developing secure and optimized systems. Our researchers are exploring how social networks could be leveraged to develop dependable mobile networks. Researchers are also examining the decision-making of network operators and other actors who are entrusted with designing networks or protecting data. As cybersecurity threats are social threats, our research also examines the social context of disaster to better understand societal responses to evolving threats.
Our research also aims to improve cybersecurity preparedness in Nevada. To that end, our researchers are working with the agencies around the state and western region to develop practical cybersecurity solutions for industry and law enforcement. Researchers are studying how to facilitate sharing of cybersecurity information among businesses to develop proactive, market-based solutions to the business risks of cyberattacks.
Finally, the center has established programs to increase awareness of cybersecurity issues among Nevadans. Focusing our outreach efforts on middle and high school teachers, a National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Teachers site brings teachers onto campus to learn about cybersecurity and develop classroom modules for their students.