Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Senator Angus King tours and endorses new cyber security lab

Sam Hill | The Free Press

Posted on November 24, 2014 in Community
By Anthony Emerson

Senator Angus King visited USM last Friday to tour the new cyber security lab in the science building, which according to the administration fits right into the school’s new metropolitan vision for the future.

President David Flanagan described the event as a “very positive and upbeat occasion.”

Senator King announced that the University of Maine system’s new cyber security program has been lauded by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center for Academic Excellence. This stamp of approval from the NSA was the first time such a distinction has been made across an entire system. According to Flanagan, the lab will thrive under the metropolitan model because it provides graduates with incredibly desirable skills and experience, in this increasingly digital age.

Members of staff representing Senator Susan Collins and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree were also in attendance.

During a brief press conference, Professor Glenn Wilson said that “cyber security is an area which expects tremendous job growth.” Wilson went on to say that he expected at least 300,000 job openings in the near future, which he said was a “very conservative estimate.”

According to Wilson, criminal elements are now making more money in [breaking] cyber security than illegal drugs,” going on to say that it was nearly “a $450 billion” illicit industry.

In a speech to the collected faculty and students, Senator King said that “the next Pearl Harbor will be a cyber attack,” going on to say that the US is “technologically vulnerable” and that the power grid, gas lines and the financial markets are all targets. If the metropolitan model for USM is about shaping academic programs to fit the needs of the community, the cyber-security discipline is a relevant focus. USM officials have deemed the cyber security program a place where students can be groomed for 21st century jobs in a growing industry.

King said that cyber security was a “very important area of study” and expressed hope that it would make USM a primary destination for people looking to learn how to repel digital threats throughout the country and the world. King said that there was a 99.9 percent chance that graduates would quickly receive a job post graduation. According to King, the new programs will become the flagship of USM and that hopefully it will attract “21st century jobs” to Maine.

According to Glenn Wilson, the director of information and innovation, 300,000 cyber security jobs will open up across the country. Wilson said this program is ideal for career development.

King criticized his fellow members of congress for voting down a bill that would beef up grants for cyber security and said that there was “no time to waste.”

“What are you going to do when your bank account disappears,” asked King.

King described the battle against hackers as a “constant struggle” with “no moment of victory” because “the bad guys are continuously trying to exploit vulnerabilities.”

“This is a big deal, this puts us on the map,” King said. “I’m just delighted to be here today. It’s a great day for the university and the country.”

 

 

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