Automation Alley and Oakland University to Open Cybersecurity Center

Automation Alley in Troy and Oakland University in Rochester Hills will be working together to create a cybersecurity center in Michigan thanks to a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER).

Called the Oakland University Cybersecurity Center, the facility will be located on the school’s campus and will use the expertise of several strategic partners, including Oakland University; Franhofer USA, which has its North American headquarters in Plymouth Township; SensCy in Ann Arbor; and GRIMM Cyber in Arlington, Va.

The team will focus on research and development and develop capabilities that should reduce the risk of power disruption from a cyber-incident for energy delivery systems. The center will also develop education programs to help create new cybersecurity methods in the energy sector.

This Cybersecurity Center will:

• Be one of several DOE-funded university-based cybersecurity centers with the mission of enhancing the security and resilience of the nation’s critical energy infrastructure.

• Collaborate with other DOE-funded centers while focusing primarily on the needs in the state of Michigan related to enhancing the security of energy systems.

• Focus on reducing the effects of disruptive cybersecurity attacks through preparation, innovation, and collaboration with other government agencies as well as the private sector.

• Provide opportunities for students to enter cybersecurity careers through internships and apprenticeships in the energy, automotive and electric/gas utilities industries.

• Train cybersecurity professionals on how to establish protections to prevent bad actors from taking advantage of systems for industrial espionage, intellectual property theft, IP leakage, or even production sabotage.

• Help develop a workforce in a variety of areas, including the Internet of Things (IoT), cyber resilience, digital forensic science, malware analysis, ransomware detection, and other cyber-attacks on cyber physical systems (CPS) and disinformation detection.

“Companies today face unprecedented cybersecurity risks,” says Tom Kelly, executive director and CEO of Automation Alley. “This Cybersecurity Center will address the cybersecurity threats for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies in the energy sector, including the automotive industry and electric/gas utilities providers transitioning to Industry 4.0. It will provide education, training, and research opportunities to help them predict, detect, and repair cyber-attacks for grid and energy infrastructures.”

Marouane Kessentini, professor and chair of the department of computer science and engineering at Oakland University, says: “The establishment of a Cybersecurity Center at Oakland University will build upon the momentum we are creating regarding research, curriculum, and community outreach around cybersecurity. With this funding, we aim to support critical infrastructure owners and operators while also strengthening our future and current workforce through crucial cybersecurity training.”

For more information, or to inquire about how a company can get involved in the Cybersecurity Center, visit here.

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