The National Security Agency, or NSA, has awarded the University of North Texas with the designation of a "Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education" for its strong computer and information security program. This prestigious designation recognizes UNT's commitment to excellence in information assurance, and places UNT among the top academic programs in computer security in the nation. UNT was among 10 new designees for 2004, bringing the total to 60 institutions nationwide designated as centers of excellence.
The computer security efforts at UNT are coordinated by the Center for Information and Computer Security (CICS), a multidisciplinary center with faculty affiliates from 4 departments on campus, representing 3 different schools and colleges. The mission of CICS is to coordinate and promote educational, research, and service projects in information and computer security, with an emphasis on cross-disciplinary initiatives. Currently, courses in computer security are offered in both the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and in the Department of Business Computer Information Systems, and courses in computer crime and digital forensics are offered by the Department of Criminal Justice.
Dr. Stephen Tate, Director of CICS and Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, says that the future direction of CICS is to "build a comprehensive program with cutting-edge research intertwined with education, so that we both educate students in the current state-of-the-art, and push that state-of-the-art to bring about advances in the science and practice of computer security." Several advanced research projects are underway at UNT, including projects dealing with security of mobile agents, network protocol security, secure hardware architectures, and cryptographic protocols, with support from the National Science Foundation and local industry.