University plans infosec institute

Government officials working to protect information systems will be able

to seek guidance and skilled graduates from a new research center at Johns

Hopkins University.

The university's Information Security Institute (www.jhuisi.jhu.edu)

plans to hold its first information security seminars in the spring and

expand its existing courses and programs by September 2001, university

officials said.

Researchers will study problems such as systems attacks by hackers and

computer criminals, security of electronic transactions and patient privacy

in telemedicine and medical databases.

Nearly every school of the Baltimore-based university will contribute

experts to study the techno-logical, legal, ethical and public-policy challenges

associated with information security.

"The underlying concept is that in the [information technology] security

field, many of the interesting problem areas have this hybrid nature to

them so that they are best approached by teams of people with different

backgrounds," said Gerald Masson, chairman of the university's computer

science department.

Plans for the institute recently had a major boost when an anonymous

donor pledged $10 million, Masson said.

Masson said he envisions the institute's basic and applied research

spurring the regional economy, making the Washington, D.C., Maryland and

Northern Virginia corridor a Silicon Valley of sorts for information security.

Building on work at its Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., and

elsewhere, the university will form partnerships with businesses and other

universities in the area, Masson said.

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