Facebook makes $250,000 grant to University of Alabama at Birmingham to fight cybercrime

Oct 22, 2012 2:44am

Today the Center for Information Assurance and Joint Forensics Researchat the University of Alabama at Birmingham announced a $250,000 grant from Facebook.

The funds are in recognition of the center’s role in tracking international criminals behind the social-media botnet Koobface as well as other spammers.  In an interesting twist, the funds come from money Facebook has recovered from spammers around the world. 

In announcing the grant, Facebook Chief Security Officer (and NCSA Board Member) Joe Sullivan said, “As a result of numerous collaborations over the years, Facebook recognizes the center as both a partner in fighting Internet abuse, and as a critical player in developing future experts who will become dedicated cybersecurity professionals.”

The grant was announced at the beginning of week four—education week—of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The timing of this announcement highlights the need for more programs like the Center for Information and Assurance and Joint Forensics Research to both combat cybercrime today and provide hands on experience to students who will continue the fight to protect the Internet in the future. In addition, it underscores how academia and industry can work

We will need a new generation of cybersecurity professionals fight cybercrime and to meet the growing demand to protect our critical infrastructure and critical resources that connect to the Internet. According to a recent article in the Baltimore Sun, the market for cybersecurity professionals will grow by 50% in the next four years.  To meet this need, K-12 education and higher education need to collaborate to provide basic education in STEM and related disciplines, inspire young people to pursue careers and graduate professionals to defend industry and government networks.

In 2012 NCSA created the National Cybersecurity Education Council as a public-private partnership to chart a path forward on cybersecurity education for the nation.

NCSA applauds Facebook for providing needed resources to the University of Alabama at Birmingham to support and enhance its cybersecurity programs. Our hope is that others will also see the value of supporting academic institutions graduating young people who will help us build and maintain a safe and trusted Internet.

The theme of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is the Internet is a shared resource and protecting it is a shared responsibility. This kind of cooperative effort is an excellent example of the theme in action.