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Estonian Cyber-Security Connection

In Library at Tallinn University of Technology (Tallinn Tech) L-R:

Steve Lauterberg, Henson School, Salisbury University
Tanel Tammet, Faculty of Information Technology, Tallinn Tech
Marko Kääramees, Faculty of Information Technology, Tallinn Tech
Don Spickler, Henson School, Salisbury University
Melanie Perrault, Assoc Provost, Salisbury University
Karen Olmstead, Dean, Henson School, Salisbury University
Dominique Unruh, Prof of Computer Security, Tartu University
Eha Teder, International Relations Office,
Catherine Beise, Perdue School of Business, Salisbury University
Alar Kolk, Vice-Rector for Innovation and Internationalization, Tallinn Tech

Estonia is a small, but vibrant, country in northern Europe, bordered by Russia on the east, Latvia on the south, and the Baltic Sea on the west and north, across from Finland. In 2007, the entire country of Estonia experienced a major hacker attack, the first time an entire country was targeted. Estonia had already become known as a highly “wired” country in Europe, including advanced and innovative e-government services to its citizens. In response to the attack, Estonia has become a worldwide center for advanced cybersecurity. Estonia developed graduate programs in cybersecurity through collaboration between two institutions, the Tallinn University of Technology and Tartu University. In early June, a small delegation of faculty and administrators from Salisbury University traveled to Estonia for a week seeking to partner with these two universities to create opportunities to study cybersecurity for Salisbury University students in information systems, computer science and mathematics. The travelers included:

  • Melanie Perreault, Associate Provost
  • Karen Olmstead, Dean, Henson School
  • Catherine Beise, Professor of Information and Decision Sciences, Perdue School
  • Donald Spickler, Professor of Mathematics, cryptology interest, Henson School
  • Steven Lauterburg, Visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Henson School

The team’s experience was very positive, both in the friendliness of the people, the comfortable accommodations, the unique charm of the country and the universities, and finally the encouragement of the two Estonian faculties to move forward with a collaborative effort. While in Estonia, the team visited with faculty and staff Tallinn Tech and Tartu U, stopped in at the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn, toured Skype headquarters (located in Tallinn), and also met with participants at CyCon, an international cyber conflict conference, in Tallinn that week, partly sponsored by NATO’s Cooperative Cyber-Defence Centre of Excellence.

The proposed 3+2 program will offer interested students an opportunity to complete both their SU undergraduate degree and an M.S. in cybersecurity from the Estonia program in five years, by spending the first three years at SU and the last two in Estonia. Many administrative and curricular details are still to be worked out, but faculty in all three programs will be trying to identify a “few good students” early in their SU studies as good candidates for this unique opportunity to combine study abroad with the development of highly sought-after cybersecurity skills and knowledge for the regional workforce.

Proposed Program: SU students majoring in computer science, mathematics or information systems may pursue a master’s degree in cybersecurity at Tallinn University of Technology (TUT) and University of Tartu (UT) through a 3+2 program in which students take three years of study at SU and then enroll at TUT/UT as “visiting students” for one year, concurrently completing their bachelors’ degree at SU. In Year 5, upon successful admission to the cybersecurity M.S. program, students complete courses in the TUT/UT cybersecurity M.S. program, and typically, do an internship. SU intends to send four to six students per year in this proposed program starting fall 2013.

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