NSF features Bashir's work in cybersecurity education

Masooda Bashir
Masooda Bashir, Assistant Professor

The National Science Foundation recently featured current research about cybersecurity education programs, one of which is co-led by GSLIS Assistant Professor Masooda Bashir.

The Illinois Cyber Security Scholars Program (ICSSP) is funded by the NSF and teaches students how to protect the nation’s cyber infrastructure by designing more secure systems and methodologies, as well as better cyber policy. Bashir works closely with students in the program as well as with agencies and laboratories who provide student internships. The lead researcher on the grant is Roy Campbell, professor of computer science.

Co-PI Masooda Bashir says digital forensics gets to the heart of the multidisciplinary nature of cybersecurity.

"If you think about the amount of digital information that is being generated, exchanged, and stored daily you begin to understand the impact that the field of Digital Forensics is going to have in the coming years, " she said. "But Digital Forensics (DF) is not only a technical discipline, but a multidisciplinary profession that draws on a range of other fields, including law and courtroom procedure, forensic science, criminal justice and psychology."

She added, "I believe it is through integration of such relevant nontechnical disciplines into the DF education we can help students develop the comprehensive understanding that they will need in order to conduct examinations and analyses whose processes and findings are not just technically sound, but legal, ethical, admissible in court, and otherwise effective in achieving the desired real-world goal."

As the new program evolves, Masooda is drawing on her background as a computer scientist/psychologist to add the psychology of cybercrime to the curriculum. She's also working on a project examining cybersecurity competitions to understand their impact on the cybersecurity workforce and also to better understand the psychological factors and motivations of cyber security specialist and hackers.