Writing the Script

Professor leading discussion

Writing the Script for Cyber Security Research and Education

Doug Jacobson’s leadership in cyber security research and education began before high-speed internet, smartphones and Google. It even predates the term “cyber security” itself. Jacobson, Stanley Chair in Interdisciplinary Engineering, University Professor of electrical and computer engineering, and director of the Center for Cybersecurity Innovation and Outreach, was one of the few who saw “information assurance” threats looming in the early 1990s.

“When I would give talks early on, I spent most of the time explaining why anyone would even launch an attack, because at that time hackers weren’t in it to make money – and without that motivation, not many people believed cyber security would amount to much of a problem,” said Jacobson.

Estimates of global losses from cyber crimes now reach into the trillions of dollars per year. For more than 30 years, Iowa State has been a national leader in cyber security research, education and outreach – and Cyclone Engineers now have their eye on future challenges in securing every aspect of modern life.

Cyber Defense for Everyone

Iowa State has created a cyber security literacy education for all users of technology, including the Iowa Cyber Hub that centralizes cyber security resources for Iowans- and youth and public outreach materials used nationally.

“Technology can’t win the cyber security battle alone. Users must also play an active role in their own protection, so while it’s critical we develop new approaches and educate new cyber security professionals – we also will continue to offer cyber security education to everybody,” said Jacobson.


First external research award to study cyber security


Iowa State offers one of the nation’s first “information warfare” courses.


Iowa State establishes the Center for Cybersecurity Innovation and Outreach (then known as the Information Assurance Center)


Undergraduate major in cyber security launches

Tomorrow’s Cyber Security Engineers

More than 10,000 undergraduate, community college and high school students have participated in 75 hands-on, real-time Cyber Defense Competitions since 2005.

20 faculty teaching and researching in cyber security.

A nine-state coalition led by Jacobson, trains a new workforce to protect the Midwest’s energy infrastructure from cyber-attacks.

ISEAGE, the Internet-Scale Event and Attack Generation Environment, offers unique virtual internet for students to test cyber defenses.