Hackers, fraudsters and sexual predators who use the World Wide Web for mischief: Beware.
The West Virginia Cyber Crime Cooperative will track you down.
A partnership between West Virginia University, West Virginia State Police and the National White Collar Crime Center, the Cooperative has grown from a room in Brooks Hall to a 4,000-square-foot facility in its nine-year existence.
On Wednesday, WVU, law enforcement and various public officials celebrated the opening of this facility, at the Prete Building on University Avenue, with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Created in 2002, the Cooperative researches digital forensics and electronic crimes, such as hacking, fraud and child pornography. WVU faculty and students in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering are heavily involved in the partnership.
“West Virginia has a strong core of law enforcement research and development,” said WVU President James P. Clements. “We have very good West Virginia law enforcement organizations and academic research at WVU all of which are helping brand West Virginia a leading state for innovation, technologies and strategies that make our nation safer from crime.”
The partnership has produced many benefits for the University and its students, Clements said. WVU now teaches classes in computer incident response, digital forensics and network forensics.
The University also has developed a masters-level graduate certificate in computer forensics. Sixteen students have already graduated from that program while 15 are currently enrolled.
Roy Nutter, a professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, leads a digital forensics research group in the Cooperative.
“We’ve expanded our abilities since 2002,” Nutter said. “We’re here to develop tools for law enforcement.”
Through the partnership, WVU has received and managed more than $1.2 million in competitive grants in the field of digital forensics. This year, WVU has received subcontracts from both the state police and National White Collar Crime Center totaling more than $450,000.
Some grants have exposed Nutter’s students to real world experiences as they participate in partnership projects.
“They’re our last and only hope,” Nutter said. “That’s the way I feel with these students. They need to learn the tools to counter the hacks, design secure software and help law enforcement.”
For more information on the Cooperative, go to www.wv3c.wvu.edu.
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