TU Trains Elite Anti-Terrorists

Tuesday, May 29th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The University of Tulsa will play a key role in protecting the U-S from what experts say is a major global threat of cyber terrorism.

T.U. is one of six universities in the nation that will train elite groups of computer security experts for the federal government.

The University of Tulsa is looking for more bright young minds to help form the country's first line of defense against computer terrorists.

Experts say American society has never been more vulnerable to cyber hackers, but there's a critical shortage of security professionals.

Dr Sujeet Shenoi, TU Prof: "It's like the movie, 'The Right Stuff.' We're getting a generation of students, training them, and then sending them over to work for the federal government and eventually industry too."

Every year for the next three years, T.U. will enroll twelve students who'll study how cyber attacks happen. Shenoi is looking for students with strong computer science backgrounds, hard workers with leadership potential.

Dr Sujeet Shenoi, TU Prof: "And I think above all, they've got to be good. We can't have them going bad, like Hansen, the FBI spy. The wrong way's the bad way. You don't do it."

Shenoi emphasizes the program does not train students to become hackers themselves. These young people say their moral convictions will prevent any such inclination. They're eager for the intellectual challenge, but have stronger motivations.

Brandon Enochs, Student: "I feel it's a great opportunity to serve our country."

Dawn Scherman, Student: "It's not small stuff we're dealing with. It's big stuff. It's the world. It's stuff that can affect and impact everyone."

Shenoi says Internet hacking is a huge problem with potentially devastating effects. "They could take down the telephone system. If you take down the telephone system, about 50 percent of the Internet won't function. Wall Street won't work. Emergency Services won't work."

Shenoi also claims his philosophy about educating young people to defend their country as computer experts is the same as his child-rearing approach. "The more time you spend with them, and the more you believe in them, and you train them to do good things, I think that's important."

And important preparation for their service to the world.

The program is open to college students in their junior year, or to first year graduate students. It provides tuition, room and board and some living expenses.