In April 1998, Georgia Tech hosted the Sam Nunn / Bank of America Information Security Forum, "Information Security Risks, Opportunities, and the Bottom Line." Developed from Senator Nunn's concept of educating citizens about important issues, the focus of the Policy Forum was the critical and strategic role of information security to the business community, to private citizens, and to all levels of government. As the program for this Forum was developed, it became increasingly clear that Georgia Tech's strengths in technology and policy, coupled with the pressing national need for education and research in information security, meant that Georgia Tech had a responsibility to lead in this area. As a result, the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) was established and announced at the Sam Nunn Information Security Forum.
Since its creation, GTISC has been a catalyst for initiating a range of activities in both research and education areas. Currently, over hundred faculty and graduate students work on a broad range of research projects in areas that include cryptography, virtualization and trusted platforms, storage systems and network security, and visualization and usability of security solutions. On the policy side, most of this work has been concerned with the international dimensions of cyber attacks and national strategies and forms of international cooperation to try to deal with them. We have also undertaken research and development projects pertaining to PKI, system testing and trusted platforms. GTISC members and students come from the College of Computing, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, and the Georgia Tech Research Institute. The research projects are supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, DARPA, Army Research Office, and industry.
GTISC is currently focusing on a major research effort that seeks to create user-centric technologies that enable people to safeguard their personal digital information in end-user managed environments like the home. GTISC researchers will conduct empirical user studies to understand user expectation of security for their digital information and what they can be expected to do to secure such information. Based on such studies, user-centric technologies are being explored to secure access to personal digital information, to monitor how it is accessed, and to recover it in case it is compromised. The Aware Home will serve as a concrete environment where rich applications and the digital information created by them must be secured. At the enterprise level, we are exploring the notion of safe cyberzones, which are dynamic collections of networked computing devices, where users can better understand and control how and when their digital information is accessed.
On the education front, GTISC faculty has created a broad and comprehensive set of courses that have allowed us to offer a MS degree in information security. Our state-of-the-art teaching laboratories allow students to learn hands-on techniques for detecting vulnerabilities and deploying solutions that address them. We also offer certificates in information security at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the College of Computing and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Based on the rich set of courses and educational programs, GTISC has twice been designated as a Center of Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency. GTISC also offer scholarships that are funded through the National Science Foundation scholarship-for-service (SFS) program.
GTISC seeks to engage the broader community in the Atlanta area and at the national level to better understand the threats to digital information and to develop strategies for securing it. Recently, we have organized summits that bring together leaders from industry, government and academia to address the security of emerging technologies such as voice-over IP (VoIP). We are currently in the process of creating an industrial advisory board which will allow companies to work with GTISC faculty and students using several different mechanisms.