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Protecting critical infrastructure from cyber threats

Published October 27, 2017

by Benjamin Blanchet

Protecting UB networks and devices in an era of increasingly complex cyber threats requires a multi-layered approach. The methods of identifying cyber threats have drastically improved over the years, and that’s evident at UB. 

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Benjamin Blanchet (UB student, Class of 2018) is an English major with an interest in journalism. After graduating from UB, he hopes to attend grad school and pursue a career writing about music and the arts. An Albany, NY native, Benjamin enjoys biking and reading in his spare time.

Dr. Cathrine J. Ullman, UB Senior Information Security Analyst, has been at the university for over 17 years, and has seen these improvements, and the threats that made them necessary, first-hand.

According to Dr. Ullman, there was a time when firewall protection was “just not something you did, and not something that occurred to anyone.”

“Within the span of a few years, attacks like SQL Slammer [in 2003] and Code Red [in 2001] became severely problematic,” Ullman said. “So we started moving to some sort of protection and prevention model.”

With blocked ports and two-factor-identification being implemented at UB, Dr. Ullman says the difference today is vast.

“The university is definitely now using a multi-layered approach,” Dr. Ullman said. “We have anti-virus running on the servers, special credentials in place, and permissions specifically set on files to limit access, which we didn't use to have.”

The pace of technology at the University at Buffalo has moved with the time, and as threats have become more complex, so have the systems and procedures put into place to stop them.