University of New Brunswick establishes cybersecurity 'hub' with new institute
FREDERICTON -- The University of New Brunswick opened a new cybersecurity institute Monday in hopes of establishing an educational hub for one of the most pressing issues in the information age.
University officials, industry partners and members of the federal and provincial governments announced the launch of the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity in Fredericton.
"The need for more cybersecurity support and services around the world is a huge opportunity to create jobs here in our province," Premier Brian Gallant said in a statement.
"New Brunswick is already a world leader in cybersecurity. Enhancing training and research opportunities through this institute is another step in seizing this significant economic opportunity."
Backed by more than $4.5 million in funding, the institute will offer programs for various skill levels -- ranging from a one-week crash course to a doctoral degree -- to address the widening knowledge gap in cybersecurity education.
Institute director Ali Ghorbani said in an interview that as people increasingly migrate to the digital realm, countries, companies and individuals have to be more proactive about protecting themselves.
Cybersecurity isn't just an IT problem, Ghorbani said, but rather an arena for online bank robberies and countless other crimes.
"Cybersecurity is no longer a networking IT problem -- it affects everyone," Ghorbani said. "(We're) facing a huge shortage of skilled professionals, so training cybersecurity professionals is something we identified as an opportunity."
Ghorbani said the institute will be an umbrella organization where academics of every discipline can develop comprehensive solutions to evolving cybersecurity threats in collaboration with government and the private sector.
Sandy Bird of IBM, the institute's first research partner, said this isn't about "building the next mouse trap" but about building a workforce with the skills for today's knowledge-based economy.
Ghorbani expects about 100 undergraduate and post-graduate students to enrol in the institute in the coming years and says the school will offer week-long "Cybersecurity 101" courses for professionals looking to bolster their technological defences.