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MIT Event Encourages Students to 'Think Security'

A new event at the MIT Sloan School of Management will teach students about critical infrastructure cybersecurity issues such as protecting computer-controlled water or electric power facilities from cyber threats. The "Think Security" event, hosted by MIT Sloan's Interdisciplinary Consortium for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, or (IC)3, in association with Kaspersky Academy, is a weeklong seminar taking place on campus from Jan. 30 to Feb. 3.

Event activities include:

  • Analysis of industrial control systems (typically used in the electric, water, oil and gas industries) and the advanced persistent threats that plague organizations of all sizes and sectors;
  • Capture the Flag challenge, a competition designed to encourage out-of-box creative thinking; and
  • Kaspersky Interactive Protection Simulation training, where participants will "select suitable cybersecurity technologies for an industrial power plant and resolve specific implementation challenges," according to a press release.

"Today's critical infrastructure often runs on outdated technologies that date back nearly 30 years, meaning some of the largest cities' utilities and sensitive systems are controlled by unsupported, vulnerable software. At the same time, cybercriminals' attacks are growing in sophistication, creating a dangerous situation that students can help resolve," said Clint Bodungen, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, in a statement. "While lectures are beneficial, students gain the most understanding through hands-on activities, which is why we're collaborating with MIT to bring critical infrastructure cybersecurity to the forefront."

"Think Security" is part of MIT's Independent Activities Period (IAP), a special four-week term comprised of how-to sessions, forums, athletic endeavors, lecture series, films, tours, recitals, contests and more. IAP gives students the opportunity to "set their own educational agendas, pursue independent projects, meet with faculty, or pursue many other options not possible during the semester," according to information from the school.

"IAP is an invaluable program for both students and faculty to learn from leading experts in a wide range of industries, and this year with Kaspersky Lab, we're spotlighting an important issue that affects regions around the world," said MIT Sloan professor Stuart Madnick, director of (IC)3, in a statement. "The 'Think Security' seminar will test our students to think outside of the box and apply their knowledge to better protect society, a lesson extending far beyond the classroom."

For more information, visit the IAP website.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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