Consumer News: Rochester Institute of Technology’s cybersecurity program gets major boost

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Cyberattacks increased globally by 38 percent last year – and most of the consumers are harmed because their personal information is exposed.

But, the company’s philanthropic arm, hopes to shape a generation of cybersecurity experts to protect you. It is giving Rochester Institute of Technology a $500,000 grant – and it will be the gift that keeps on giving.

That money will shape the next generation of cybersecurity experts who are already being put to work right here in Rochester.

The students are among the best and brightest – and are preparing for careers in cybersecurity. But some are not only learning the profession. They’re already doing it as part of an RIT clinic called the ESL Global Cybersecurity Institute.

The grant will be spread over three years, part of Google’s $20 million collaboration with university cybersecurity clinics.

So, why RIT?

“I think RIT was somewhere at the top of the list because we actually have the longest-standing degree program in cybersecurity in the nation,” President David Munson said.

And through its institute, RIT students are putting their skills to work, helping local businesses and nonprofits beef up their defenses against cyberattacks.

“The Rochester Institute of Technology’s program has been running for two years now. They’ve already worked with a number of school districts, hospital systems, and are continuing to expand that effort,” said Maab Ibrahim, cybersecurity lead.

The Google grant broadens that expansion – not only providing these students with the opportunity to learn, but also to serve. RIT cybersecurity students are giving the Rochester business and nonprofit communities free help to keep hackers at bay. And that ultimately serves Flower City consumers.

“Consumers are rightly concerned, as they should be, about attacks that would have their data and information available. And that’s why this information is so important and that’s why we’re so excited today about this announcement by Google and the continuing work by RIT in this regard,” Rep. Joe Morelle said.

After graduation, those bright minds at RIT will put their education and training to work right here in Rochester because they’ve seen the opportunities available as students.

That’s a whole lot of brainpower – and perhaps this institute will help them decide to call Rochester home.