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Government

New State Cybersecurity Center Uses Students To Monitor Hackers

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Sarah Fentem
/
WBAA

A new security center opening at the Purdue Research Park will employ university students to help keep the state government safe from cyber criminals.

The State of Indiana Security Operations Center is part of the Indiana Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a cybersecurity partnership among the multiple state agencies, Intel Security, Purdue and other private sector partners that identifies threats to state computer systems.

Purdue Chief Information Officer Gerry McCartney says while the state already has cybersecurity systems in place, the new center provides a monitoring system that identifies multiple, targeted attempted attacks to the government system by hackers and other criminals. He says when an assault on the system is detected, depending on its severity, students can respond themselves or alert workers downstate to mitigate the problem.

"Many organizations only respond after an event," he says. "In other words, they don’t have people anticipating events, they just say, ‘Oh, we found a compromised machine,’ and of course they have people that do  that. What this is providing is that early look: "You’re not sick yet, but we think you’re going to get sick.’"

Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann says state databases are the subject of millions of attempted hacks each year, with hackers seeking access to 25,000 state employees’ records, as well as Hoosiers’ driver’s license numbers and tax and birth records.

"We’re successful at stopping virtually every one, but it only takes one," she says. "Think about that, all those attempts on our systems and it only takes one."

The center hopes to eventually grow from 12 to 50 interns.

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