Vermont-based Norwich University, ranked second in the 2014 Best Schools for Cybersecurity study.
Vermont-based Norwich University, ranked second in the 2014 Best Schools for Cybersecurity study.

Vermont-based Norwich University – a longtime collaborator with SC Magazine and an NSA Center for Academic Excellence for more than 10 years – was ranked number two in the 2014 Best Schools for Cybersecurity study by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by HP Enterprise Security.

“Of course it is a real honor, especially considering some of the schools that came under us,” Peter Stephenson, Norwich University CISO, Director of the Norwich University Center for Advanced Computing and Digital Forensics, and a SC Magazine contributor for more than 20 years.

Norwich University fell just behind University of Texas, San Antonio, and ahead of Mississippi State University, Syracuse University and Carnegie Mellon University, respectively. The survey was based on responses gathered from nearly 2,000 IT professionals.

Some of what made Norwich University stand out is by teaching a live fire network attack/defend (“red-blue”) class and malware forensics using live malware for students to reverse and analyze, Stephenson said, adding the university is working to establish a Threat Analysis Center and mobile device forensics lab to enhance its programs.

Norwich University was one of 23 other institutions when it was named as an NSA Center for Academic Excellence in 2001, Stephenson said, explaining that there are now more than 160. He said the certification offers credibility.

“We get the chance to recruit very high quality students, in part because we are a center of academic excellence,” Stephenson said. “I have a student now who is the student lead on threat analysis and he is only a freshman. I have a graduating senior who came to us four years ago already programming in five languages. You need a good – and challenging – program to attract that caliber of student.”

Stephenson began contributing to SC Magazine more than 20 years ago and, along the way, he enlisted his students to collaborate, as well.

“They operate the Center for Advanced Computing and Digital Forensics, they run the threat analysis component and they do some reviewing for SC Magazine,” Stephenson said. “For the past five years my computer forensics class has done the testing and review writing for the digital forensics issue. They are taking a break this year and letting me do the honors since forensics is my specialty area.”

A resolution will be presented in the Vermont legislature on Wednesday morning, commending Norwich University's achievement.