New IU program monitors cybersecurity threats at other universities

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — As concerns over the security of online data mount, Indiana University has launched a cybersecurity program that monitors threats to multiple universities in real time.

The university launched the program, called OmniSOC, last month. Inside a security operations center in Bloomington, technicians work like security guards, only they’re guarding online networks instead of physical buildings. The center is staffed 24/7/365 so that if hackers try to get in at off-peak hours, they’ll still be there to catch it.

“People who are collecting credentials and trying to compromise data, those are the sort of folks that we’re trying to keep out,” supervisor Joshua Edwards said.

OmniSOC is already monitoring the networks of IU, Purdue, Northwestern, Rutgers, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln, all part of the Big 10. There are plans to eventually expand to other schools across the country.

“I like to view the OmniSOC as the neighborhood watch program for cybersecurity,” Executive Director Tom Davis said. “We want to identify a threat as quickly as possible and then notify all the members so that they can take appropriate measures to safeguard themselves from that threat.”

Edwards, who graduated from IU a few years ago, said that, while the program and its inner workings can be difficult to explain, he’s noticed that his classmates and colleagues are paying more attention to their security online than ever before.

“Talk to someone who’s anywhere from, you know, 14 to 20 and everyone’s going to have a phone, everyone’s going to have a laptop likely, and all of those devices are vulnerable to attacks, every single one,” Edwards said.

You can learn more about OmniSOC by clicking on the link here.

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