Chair’s Message | The First Two Years: Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity

March 26, 2021

Dear Cybersecurity and Privacy community,

This week included a mid-semester break from instruction, so I hope you had a chance to take some time for yourselves.

The school has been working this semester with Georgia Tech Professional Education, which administers the Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity degree program (OMS Cyber), to put together a bigger picture of how the program has developed in its first two years.

We can now share some details on enrollment and industry sectors for employment. The program continues to grow. The 223-student spring 2021 cohort is the program’s largest (28% above 2020) for a spring semester. You can read about some of the OMS Cyber students here.  It’s been great to see the level of student engagement with the new school. Let us know if there are other ways we can help you connect with your professors and classmates.

2020 was a difficult year for everyone, but even in the middle of a pandemic there is reason to be optimistic about the direction the program is taking. Here are some of the highlights from the program as of December:

  • 80% of student enrollment is U.S.-based
  • Top 5 states for enrollment are Georgia, California, Virginia, Florida, and Texas
  • 84% of students are employed
  • Top sectors for employed students are technology, finance, and defense, each with ~10% or ▲
  • 1 out of every 4 new students in 2020 in the policy track identify as female
  • Enrollment of women increased in all three degree tracks in 2020
  • Black and Hispanic groups each make up at least 10 percent of enrollment

The school has developed an interactive graphic for OMS Cyber’s 2-year birthday that you can explore for yourself and use to find more insights into the program. Faculty have built a solid foundation with OMS Cyber, and combined with residential graduate degree programs, undergraduate courses, training certificates, and bootcamps, the school is in a good position to lead Georgia Tech in its next steps in cybersecurity and privacy education.

On another front: the Commission on Research Next just published its Phase 1 Report. The Commission was launched by Georgia Tech Executive Vice President for Research Chaouki T. Abdallah. The report is designed to identify and better understand research challenges universities will face in the next decade.

A major subsection of the report, “Research that Matters,” identifies seven societal challenges that will shape Georgia Tech’s research direction, and the topic of security makes two appearances:

  • Food, water, sanitation, and hygiene
  • Healthcare and medicine
  • Transportation, energy, and infrastructure
  • Cybersecurity and privacy
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Education
  • Security, defense, and prevention of nuclear terror threats

Georgia Tech has a long record in cybersecurity research going back more than 20 years to the Sam Nunn Forum, which drew attention to the vulnerabilities of emerging computerized financial systems. As a former director of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center, I’m keenly aware of the opportunity and necessity to build our research enterprise in cybersecurity and privacy alongside our education programs. 

Wen Masters, deputy director of Information and Cyber Sciences in GTRI (and an advisor to SCP), is co-chair of Commission on Research Next. I encourage you to reach out to Wen or Wenke Lee, executive director of the Institute for Information Security and Privacy, to find out how to engage in this effort. Phase 2 is already underway.

Next Tuesday, March 30, is SCP’s monthly faculty meeting. Please join us as we share more news about the school’s ongoing development and how you can get involved.

On March 31, the National Security Agency will recognize Georgia Tech students for their top performance in the 2020 NSA Codebreaker Challenge (they placed 2nd). School faculty who are interested in attending the virtual celebration can contact Taesoo Kim, who has led GT participation in the program since it started in 2015. You can read about some of the students from the challenge and the invaluable experience it gave them in advancing their cybersecurity skill sets.

Please take a minute to see how you can connect with the school through events, my open office hour on Friday afternoons, or other opportunities. And if you have questions, drop us a note or contact me directly.

Thanks for reading.


Richard DeMillo 
Charlotte B. and Roger C. Warren Chair of Computing 
Chair, School of Cybersecurity and Privacy  

Visit me at
Follow me on Twitter @rad_atl and @richde

Georgia Tech Takes Second in NSA Codebreaker Challenge to Extend to a Seven-Year Streak

March 26, 2021

Georgia Tech placed second in the 2020 National Security Agency’s Codebreaker Challenge and added to Georgia’s number of ranked teams, eight of which placed in the top 100 for the competition this last year.  

Georgia Tech was among 452 qualifying institutions and has been in the top three ever since the competition started in 2015. The nationwide challenge provides students with a hands-on opportunity to develop skills in reverse-engineering and low-level code analysis through realistic problem-solving. 

Taesoo Kim

“The NSA Codebreaker Challenge is a competitive venue to assure that what we are offering at Georgia Tech is practical, influential, and builds the right skills in our students,” said Taesoo Kim, associate professor in the School of Computer Science. 

“All participating students learn what NSA considers important in terms of cybersecurity skill sets and how to apply the practical knowledge that they learn in the classroom,” said Kim, whose Information Security Lab includes the challenge as part of the course. 

The competition, often likened to a game of capture the flag, engages students in complex cyber challenges based on real-world scenarios. 

A sampling from recent years:  

  • Disassemble ransomware and break into a cryptocurrency ransom payment implementation to get victims’ money back (2018) 
  • Access a secure mobile communications app being used by terrorists to plot an attack (2019) 
  • Hack a FitBit-like fitness tracker’s data to locate a kidnapped journalist (2020). This latest challenge also required students to hack into video signals and take down a network of surveillance drones to enable a rescue mission. 

The challenge this year was divided into nine tasks over a 16-week period, each task increasing in difficulty. More than 100 GT students successfully competed in the challenge. 

Xuefeng “William” Wang, a full-time software engineer in Boston and student in the Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity program, solved all but one of the tasks, the last few of which were released in early 2021 while he was starting a new course in his graduate program.

“The NSA challenge covered so many things – encryption, signal processing, working with ARM-based technology, assembly languages, and more,” said Wang. “I easily spent more than 20 hours a week on the tasks.  

“The experience in the course and the competition was very rewarding and after I was done, reverse engineering was not a mystery anymore.” 

Haoran Wang, who started as a MS in cybersecurity student and recently switched to the Ph.D. in Computer Science program, said the codebreaker challenge did a really good job of putting students in a cybersecurity role where the stakes were high. 

“The last task I solved had me tracking a victim with turn-by-turn directions in a city, trying to figure out where the journalist was being taken,” said Wang. “It was fun, but not very easy – I got to do a little bit of forensics and get information on the victim; then when I tracked him, there was a good bit of physics and math, like figuring out acceleration, speed of travel, direction changes and so on,” she said. 

“What we learn in courses is sometimes small and basic problems. This really helped me connect my cybersecurity learning to the real world.” 

Georgia Tech’s new School of Cybersecurity and Privacy (SCP) developed a visual analysis of top-performing teams based on the leader scoreboard provided by the NSA. University of North Georgia and Georgia Tech took first and second place, respectively, with Mercer University (#14) and Augusta University (#15) rounding out Georgia schools in the top 25.  

Georgia Tech’s neighbor to the north, University of North Georgia, has also been consistent in the cybersecurity challenge and is looking to continue raising the field’s profile in the state.

“As National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity, both UNG and Georgia Tech benefit from collaboration with other institutions in Georgia and across the country,” said Bryson Payne, director of the Center for Cyber Operations Education at the University of North Georgia.  

“Part of being a CAE is sharing research and training opportunities with peer institutions, and the NSA Codebreaker Challenge is an excellent opportunity to get all 10 CAEs in the University System of Georgia engaged and active in one of the most prestigious competitions in cyber operations.” 

SCP Chair Richard DeMillo is currently leading a statewide taskforce to advance a strategy for Georgia’s entire pipeline for cybersecurity and privacy education, including the CAE network. 

The NSA’s Academic Engagement office will recognize students from the top three schools in the codebreaker challenge in a virtual celebration March 31. 

Contact: Joshua Preston, Research Communications Manager, College of Computing

Chair’s Message | A Statewide Initiative in Cybersecurity and Privacy Education

March 19, 2021

Dear Cybersecurity and Privacy community,

On Wednesday, education representatives from around the state convened virtually in the first workshop held by the Georgia Cybersecurity and Privacy Roadmap Taskforce. Condensing the 90-minute session into a few themes can’t fully capture all the topics presented, but if I had to characterize the meeting, I would say that 1- the state of cybersecurity education in Georgia is maturing rapidly and 2- there are several educational frameworks that position us well for the future. That’s not to say there aren’t challenges ahead. As chair of the taskforce, I’ve asked the members to think holistically about how the state can train more cybersecurity and privacy professionals at scale and pinpoint timeframes to enact these recommendations. 

I won’t bury the headline here. The GCRT is working to create a playbook for the entire Georgia education ecosystem to be used as a strategic guide for cybersecurity education. This guide will help build Georgia’s capacity to certify teachers, support faculty in higher education to serve more students, and scale delivery of education and training programs, all of which will lead to more students who are equipped to enter the cybersecurity and privacy workforce. The economic driver here is clear: there’s a workforce gap (you can monitor it for yourself) that we must address in order to secure our national infrastructure and protect how we do business across networks. This is an imperative for the state, and part of the solution must include a comprehensive education and training plan.

Some of the issues being raised in cybersecurity education remind me of those in computer science education – how do we address scale, access, instructional delivery methods, resources for instructors and students, etc.?

Georgia Tech not too long ago answered some of these questions in a big way when it took its master’s degree in computer science online and disrupted the market – it was the first online graduate CS degree from a top public research university that was equal to its residential program in all but cost. It’s been hugely successful; OMSCS currently enrolls 10,000+ students and costs less than $9K.

I mention this because Wednesday’s discussion surfaced some ideas that capture this spirit of thinking big and doing education in ways that are perhaps not common but are necessary and have huge potential payoffs. Some of this discussion revolved around how to solve creating more standardized delivery methods for instruction and finding and training qualified instructors across the education spectrum.

It’s an interesting parallel for me and perhaps a good bit of synergy to be the chair of the new school at Georgia Tech and this taskforce. Both enterprises require new ways of thinking and models that can support growing demand in this space. Just as I have encouraged the community to make their voice heard during the formation of the new school, please feel free to reach out to taskforce members as we continue this statewide initiative. There will be two more workshops this year that you can also take part in.

A recent example of Georgia’s strengths in cybersecurity is the National Security Administration Codebreaker Challenge, where eight colleges and universities in the state placed in the top 100 teams across the country in 2020. Georgia Tech was second, among 452 qualifying institutions, and has been in the top three ever since the competition started in 2015. Taesoo Kim, associate professor in computer science, and participating students (many from CS 6265) will be recognized by the NSA at the end of the month. This competition provides students with a hands-on opportunity to develop their skills in reverse-engineering and low-level code analysis through realistic problem-solving. Our school developed an interactive visual breakdown of top-performing teams here.

For those students new to Georgia Tech this semester, welcome and good luck. A special welcome to the 223 online students starting their journey in the OMS Cyber program. You’re invited to my weekly virtual open office hour, Fridays at 1 pm ET. I look forward to seeing some new faces and hearing about you and your interests.

Thanks for reading.


Richard DeMillo 
Charlotte B. and Roger C. Warren Chair of Computing 
Chair, School of Cybersecurity and Privacy   

Visit me at  
Follow me on Twitter @rad_atl and @richde     

Alumni Invest in Overlooked Regions and Founders with New VC Firm

March 17, 2021

Venture capital is the lifeline of many a new tech endeavor. But venture capitalists have traditionally only looked to invest in a few places around the country: Silicon Valley, Boston, New York. And VC’s have tended to invest in a certain kind of person as well, meaning that only three percent of capital investment goes to women and minority founders.

Two Georgia Tech alumni, venture capitalist Mark Buffington (BS MGMT 93) and serial tech entrepreneur Paul Judge (Ph.D. CS 02), looked at that pattern and saw an opportunity. They have partnered to launch Panoramic Ventures, which is the largest tech venture fund quartered in the Southeast. And they intend to invest in the Southeast, in the Midwest, and in female and minority founders.

“The market has created imbalances, as markets do,” Buffington said. “We’re proving you can build great businesses with any type of founder in any region. We see you; we’re looking for you.”

Panoramic Ventures will also take a particular interest in technology coming out of university research. Judge has previously co-founded a company, Pindrop, that came out of the dissertation research of Tech alum Vijay Balasubramaniyan (MS CS 08, Ph.D. CS 11) and his advisor, Professor Mustaque Ahamad of the School of Cybersecurity and Privacy.

“At Pindrop, it was the early connection between entrepreneurship and investors that really helped build the company,” Judge said.

Buffington and Judge see Georgia Tech specifically as vital to their strategy.

“Tech is central and core to our ecosystem in Atlanta, but it’s also key to the whole southeast region,” Judge said. Alumni are founding companies in Nashville, in Birmingham, and other places, he pointed out. “We should start thinking regionally.”

Panoramic and Pandemic

Both men experienced a “massive boost in productivity” when they went remote, Buffington said. And both think that remote work, imposed on many by the pandemic, is going to push the tech sector away from its current geographical hubs.

“You’re starting to see companies say they have no headquarters,” Judge said, citing crypto exchange Coinbase as a recent example. “Do you want to be the company trying to compete for labor against a company who will let their workforce live anywhere in the world?”

The shift won’t be without its challenges, Buffington said. It’s still hard to whiteboard remotely, which he sees as an opportunity for a start-up somewhere. And eight or nine months into the current crisis, he sees “some level of degradation in our workplace culture.”

“How do you optimize productivity, and on the flip side how do you encourage the things we as humans like?” Buffington said. “That balance is still TBD.”

Together We Swarm

Buffington and Judge are both alumni, and they like to hire alumni as well.

“Not only are Tech grads smart and knowledgeable, they are full of ambition and hustle,” Judge said. “That’s an amazingly strong fit for a start-up environment.

“It’s hard to outwork Paul and me,” Buffington added. “I think that quality is specific and unique to Georgia Tech. The people who come out are hungry, they’re naturally curious, they are driven to solve problems.”

Those qualities also make good startup founders, of course. Judge advises students that if they want to start their own company, they should first take a job at a startup to learn the ropes.

“In months, you’ll get a few years of knowledge,” Judge said. “You’ll build a network. You’ll get insight into how to build that rocket ship and launch it.”

Buffington got his start working for big companies, and says that while those jobs are good, they don’t compare to the joys of entrepreneurship.

“The highs are higher and the lows are lower,” he said, “but there’s nothing more rewarding than self-actualizing.” And those lows never completely go away, he added.

“’I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I still get nervous,” he said. “Any time you endeavor to do what Paul and I are doing — well, if you’re not nervous, if you don’t have butterflies in your stomach, you’re not pushing hard enough.”

Ann Claycombe, Communications Director

► VIDEO | Building a Strategic Blueprint for Cybersecurity and Privacy Education

► VIDEO | March 17, 2021 3:00 – 4:30 pm Add to: Google Calendar | Outlook | iCal File

Please join us for Building a Strategic Blueprint for Cybersecurity and Privacy Education Workshop, the first of a series of workshops hosted by the Georgia Cybersecurity and Privacy Roadmap Taskforce (GCRT). 

The Georgia Cybersecurity and Privacy Roadmap Taskforce (GCRT) is a statewide initiative to address Georgia’s challenge to produce enough qualified cyber-science and privacy professionals to fill the growing number of critical cybersecurity jobs within the state and close the workforce gap. The GCRT was set up to create and execute a strategic action plan that can inform and be implemented collaboratively across public and private education systems, including K-12, technical colleges, and university programs.

Building a Strategic Blueprint for Cybersecurity and Privacy Education Workshop

Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Time: 3 – 4:30 p.m.


Hosted by:
Richard DeMillo, Chair, Georgia Cybersecurity and Privacy Roadmap Taskforce (GCRT)Professor and Interim Chair, School of Cybersecurity and Privacy, Georgia Institute of Technology

Distinguished guests are from K-12 STEM, the University System of Georgia, Georgia DoE, and Technical College System of Georgia. 


Panelists will present:

  • Assets and tools effective in knowledge development
  • Overview of the current footprint in cybersecurity and privacy
  • Building blocks required to scale programs across education and training
  • Sample models / programs and barriers for success


Caitlin Dooley, Deputy Superintendent, Georgia Department of Education
Bryan Cox, Computer Science Specialist, Georgia Department of Education
John Pritchett, Research, Technology and Innovation Specialist, Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE), Georgia Department of Education            

Higher Education
Stuart Rayfield, Vice Chancellor for Leadership and Institutional Development, University System of Georgia
Art Recesso, Chief Innovation Officer, University System of Georgia
Eric Toler, Executive Director, Georgia Cyber Center, Augusta University
Roy George, Chair, Cyber-Physical Sytems, Clark Atlanta University

Technical College System
Roy Perren, Deputy Commissioner for Technical Education, Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG)

Professional Education
Mustaque Ahamad, Professor, Faculty Research Director, School of Computer Science; School of Cybersecurity and Privacy; Georgia Institute of Technology

The workshop offers the education and cybersecurity community a chance to collaborate and share perspectives on development and scaling education programs to meet the growing demand for cybersecurity talent. This event will help the community gain a better understand areas of our education system in Georgia that impact GCRT’s recommendations for scaling Cybersecurity and Privacy Education across the state. 

We look forward to your attendance and participation.

Register today

Georgia Cybersecurity and Privacy Roadmap Taskforce:

Raheem Beyah – Professor and Dean, College of Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Charles Isbell – Professor and Dean, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology

Richard DeMillo – Professor and Interim Chair, School of Cybersecurity and Privacy, Georgia Institute of Technology

Alexander Schwarzmann –  Dean of the School of Computer and Cyber Sciences, University of Augusta

Eric Toler – Executive Director, Georgia Cyber Center

Stuart Rayfield – Vice Chancellor for Leadership and Institutional Development, University System of Georgia

Art Recesso – Chief Innovation Officer, University System of Georgia

Greg King – Associate Vice President for Economic Development, Georgia Institute of Technology

Steven Weldon – Director Cyber Institute at Augusta University School of Computer and Cyber Sciences

Gloria Griessman – Director of Industry Engagement and Programs, School of Cybersecurity and Privacy, Georgia Institute of Technology

Chair’s Message | Possible Futures for SCP

March 12, 2021

Dear Cybersecurity and Privacy community,

I read and respond to all correspondence (if you sent me something and have not heard back from me yet, please send it again), but I don’t always have time to expand on ideas that deserve a fuller discussion. There were a dozen emails this week about my short summary of SCP’s first faculty retreat. It’s a little unfair to characterize questions that were well-intentioned and deserve deeper discussion, but bear with me. Many of you ask, “Why, among all the things SCP might emphasize, are you choosing X and not Y?” These are excellent questions but answering all the (X,Y) instances may not be especially informative.

Aside from the obvious (to me, at least) answer that we are not yet at the choosing stage, my stock response, is “Good question! Why not help us explore it in more detail?” We are at the beginning stage of a process that will play out over months and, if we are successful, years.  Here are some of the recurring phrases I captured in these initial discussions:

  • Leverage campus resources to scaffold student success
  • Curriculum with diverse paths for students
  • Diverse student population
  • Engage industry to provide students project-based learning and capstone course opportunities
  • Integrate security/privacy modules across all colleges’ core curriculum
  • Build demand for graduate training by appealing to undergraduates
  • Opportunities for faculty to work with student research assistants

In effect, these are snapshots of possible futures for SCP. For the most part, they focus on students and reflect not only underlying principles but also the economic reality that SCP will succeed only if our students do. In the coming weeks, I will point you to Georgia Tech’s new ten-year strategic plan  and the report of the commission I co-chaired on the future of Georgia Tech education.

The most common (X,Y) questions have to do with whether SCP courses, programs, or degrees require technical proficiency as opposed to equally rigorous preparation in a non-technical field.  “As opposed to…” strikes me as a false choice. A much more interesting question is how X and Y are related. This was a week rich in examples of how that might work. Yesterday SCP co-hosted (with the School of Modern Languages) a roundtable event entitled “21st Century Cybersecurity: The Critical Role of Critical Languages in Advancing Multilingual and Cross-Culteral National Security Approaches, Competencies, and Perspectives.” The guest speaker was Dr. Michael Nugent, who directs the Defense Language and National Security Education Office.   Dr. Nugent’s summary of relevant programs and the panel discussion I moderated tied together the needs of cybersecurity in a globally connected world and multilanguage/cross-cultural research and education.

Jon Lindsay’s SCP seminar  (also yesterday) on the relationship between cyber conflict and intelligence practice is another example. Jon is a political scientist and expert in military intelligence with a deep knowledge of cybersecurity who argues, “Cyberspace is the most complex sociotechnical information system ever built, and cyber conflict is essentially just intelligence competition within it.”

So, as you formulate your own (X,Y) questions, consider how you might spark conversations like these. We are at the starting point of our planning process and mindful that most of the interesting questions have not been answered. You can reach out to any faculty on the school’s committees or the executive committee leadership to let us know of your interest in engaging.

Other items worth knowing about this week:

  • Among our student successes, year-over-year growth for the Online MS in Cybersecurity program from 2019 to 2020 was 16% with 2021 on track to exceed that (based on spring enrollments). The program has enrolled more than 1,000 students to date.
  • Mustaque Ahamad, professor in computer science, reminded me that the original MS in Cybersecurity started in 2002. So we have a big birthday to celebrate next year. Georgia Tech was early to the game in offering a graduate cybersecurity degree, and I think this reinforces why our next steps in the curriculum are so important. We need to be early to defining what the job market will expect in terms of skills and diversity in the future.
  • Putting a face on our student success stories is equally as important. March is Women’s History Month and we are celebrating with highlights of women in our community. Becky Borrebach, an OMS Cyber student and U.S. Army captain stationed in Hawaii, is on track this spring to be one of the first female graduates in the program. One parallel that Becky made between the Army and Georgia Tech was that both organizations want the best people, regardless of gender. That testament, from a student who has never sat in a classroom on campus, is encouraging as we look to the future in growing our degree programs. You can read Becky’s story here.
  • The school has also created a snapshot of women faculty and research scientists at Georgia Tech whose work is centered on or connected to cybersecurity and privacy. It shows a part of the diversity of education and research expertise across campus.
  • And speaking of diversity, a recent industry report from global cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike finds that Georgia Tech is doing comparatively well when it comes to the gender diversity of its computer science (CS) faculty. We’re ranked #2.
  • Today’s virtual cybersecurity lecture at noon is on a hot topic: deep fakes. Hany Farid, professor at the University of California at Berkeley presents on “Creating, Weaponizing, and Detecting Deep Fakes.” His research focuses on digital forensics, forensic science, misinformation, image analysis, and human perception.

Next week’s events include faculty candidate talks, a fireside chat with CS alumnus and cybersecurity expert Paul Judge, and our first workshop for the Georgia Cybersecurity and Privacy Roadmap Taskforce.

See you this afternoon for the chair’s virtual open office hour (1 pm ET).


Rich DeMillo
Charlotte B. and Roger C. Warren Chair of Computing   
Chair, School of Cybersecurity and Privacy    

Visit me at   
Follow me on Twitter @rad_atl and @richde   

Army Officer Blazes Trail in Online Cybersecurity Program

March 15, 2021

Becky Borrebach
Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity (GT ’21)

Becky Borrebach has a unique opportunity to be a role model for women, especially those interested in STEM, when she officially finishes the Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity degree program at Georgia Tech in May.

The U.S. Army captain will be among the first women, if not the first, to graduate from the program, which started in 2019.

WHM - Rebecca Borrebach.jpg

Borrebach has a penchant for challenging herself – she graduated in 2013 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and now operates in two primarily male-dominated professions: the military and cybersecurity.

One similarity between the U.S. Army and Georgia Tech that Borrebach has seen is that both organizations want the best people, regardless of gender.

“If you show up, and you have something to contribute, people want you on the team – that’s  been my experience and has allowed me to thrive,” said Borrebach.

Borrebach has had a variety of information technology jobs and postings and is now stationed in Hawaii as an information systems engineer for the 25th Infantry Division. Her next assignment will be helping modernize the U.S. Army’s central human resources infrastructure, located at the Pentagon.

The data analytics course in her graduate program was one of her favorites and she thinks it – along with her focus in the policy track – will position her well to tackle data cleaning and cybersecurity policy issues in her new assignment.

“When I was an undergrad, I always tried to think about how I would apply my education when I started my career. Now, what I learn in grad school I can apply right away on the job, whether it’s as a manager or on the technical side,” Borrebach said.

The Cornwall, New York native is currently in her OMS Cyber capstone course analyzing different cybersecurity frameworks and determining which ones apply best to cloud technology models.

“Generally, when you apply anything to a network, you have to put a policy in place and have to come up with standards,” she said.

“Lots of organizations are adopting cloud computing and shifting away from older models where a lot of IT infrastructures were localized. There’s a host of issues that come with this type of change, and one thing I’m looking at is how organizations determine who to trust and what type of agreements they make with third parties to secure their data.”

Borrebach has used the online learning format to make the most of her graduate experience and has been blown away by the level of talent among her classmates and the intellectual discussions within the study forums. 

As for being that role model: “Women role models are important in the Army and for STEM too. They can be incredibly influential. If I could be a role model to someone then, wow, I think I’ve made it.”

OMS Cyber is the 3rd and latest online grad program that Georgia Tech offers, and it has enrolled more than 1,000 students to date. Georgia Tech’s new School of Cybersecurity and Privacy, in its first year, is bringing together the institute’s various degree programs in these areas and developing new degrees and training to meet the need for cybersecurity talent.

RELATED: Interactive Visualization of Women of Cybersecurity and Privacy at Georgia Tech

WHM - Rebecca Borrebach_3.JPG
U.S. Army Capt. Becky Borrebach pictured with her husband and U.S. Army Capt. Drew Borrebach in Hawaii.

Contact: Joshua Preston, Research Communications Manager, College of Computing

Chair’s Message | Taking the Long View

March 5, 2021

Dear Cybersecurity and Privacy Community,

Thanks to all of you who commented on last week’s letter about the themes that came out of the faculty retreat. There will be working groups of students, faculty, alumni, and external stakeholders to expand the themes into narratives that will feed the strategic planning process beginning in earnest this fall. Now that the search committee for the inaugural chair has been announced, the questions posed during the retreat have taken on a new sense of urgency. I hope that many of you will find a way to be involved over the coming weeks.

The near-term business of building the school goes on as well. You should expect to see research and instructional faculty members added to the school and a new committee devoted to space and facilities soon. As I am sure you know, specialized laboratories and facilities are needed for world-class cybersecurity education and responsible experimentation. The new committee will seek broad input in developing a uniquely Georgia Tech approach to cybersecurity facilities.

I have hinted about it in the past, but today I can announce the first public event associated with a statewide initiative I am leading to address the challenge of producing enough qualified cyber-science and privacy professionals to close the cybersecurity workforce gap. I chair the new Georgia Cybersecurity and Privacy Roadmap Taskforce (GCRT), organized by the University System of Georgia, to develop the cybersecurity education playbook for public and private institutions (including K-12, technical colleges, and higher education). On March 17, GCRT kicks off the first in a series of workshops, Building a Strategic Blueprint for Cybersecurity and Privacy Education. The objective is to offer the state’s education community the chance to collaborate and share perspectives about the growing demand for cybersecurity talent. Broad participation from Georgia Tech will drive this effort. Check back for more details on the website next week.

On other fronts:

  • This week, we had the opportunity to (virtually) host students admitted to the Ph.D. in computer science program and gave them a sneak peek of their new home in Coda. The Coda building is a nexus for innovation that will serve the school well (and it is the tallest building in midtown according to facilities management; it has 21 levels). Coda will also offer important opportunities for collaboration with industry because of its proximity to other key stakeholders in the Atlanta tech ecosystem.
  • The institute recently announced plans for a full reopening of campus for fall semester. With this new guidance, we will assess safe ways to let our community engage in Coda later this year.
  • Today at noon you can take part in a SCP lecture by my friend and colleague Harri Hursti, co-founder of Nordic Innovation Labs and one of the world’s foremost experts on the topic of electronic voting and critical infrastructure security. His talk will be on 2020 cyberattack trends and forecasts for 2021.
  • I am out of town this week, but I hope you can join SCP’s Curriculum Committee Chairs and Professors Annie Antón and Sy Goodman at 1 p.m. ET for the chair’s virtual open office hour. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, developing SCP’s curriculum has turned into an exciting venture, so I am sure you will want to hear Annie and Sy share their visions of how cybersecurity education should evolve at Georgia Tech. Remember, we were ranked #1 nationally for our undergraduate cybersecurity programs, so do not expect tomorrow’s discussion to be tame. It has been great to see these two leaders challenge their colleagues to think boldly and innovatively about cybersecurity education.
  • One March 11, a panel with the school’s curriculum co-chairs, Profs. Antón and Goodman, will feature Michael Nugent, director of the Defense Language and National Security Education Office for the U.S. Department of Defense. Faculty candidate talks also continue next week.

I’ll be back soon with more updates. Meanwhile, have a great weekend, and please continue to send me your thoughts about how to launch our new school.


Rich DeMillo
Charlotte B. and Roger C. Warren Chair of Computing  
Chair, School of Cybersecurity and Privacy   

Visit me at  
Follow me on Twitter @rad_atl and @richde  

Workshop: Building a Strategic Blueprint for Cybersecurity and Privacy Education plg

Date(s): March ???, 2021 | Virtual Register for free

The Georgia Cybersecurity and Privacy Roadmap Taskforce presents:

Test event

March 26, 2021
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

The Georgia Cybersecurity and Privacy Roadmap Taskforce (GCRT), organized by University System of Georgia, will serve to create and execute a strategic action plan that can be implemented across public and private education systems, including K-12, technical colleges and university programs.

This virtual workshop includes panelists from a broad cross-section of education areas in the state and will offer practitioners the chance to collaborate and share perspectives about establishing a statewide education program to meet the growing demand for cybersecurity talent.

Currently, the Georgia education system is not producing enough qualified cyber-science and privacy professionals to fill the growing number of critical cybersecurity jobs within the state and close the workforce gap. The workshop will provide insights and critical knowledge about the many facets of Cybersecurity and Privacy that impact Georgia, other U.S. states, and nations across the globe.

PANELISTS: Practitioners and guests from K-12 STEM, University System of Georgia, Technical College System of Georgia, HBCUs, Georgia DoE, and others.

Areas we’ll explore during the virtual workshop:

  • Assets and tools that are effective in knowledge development
  • Building blocks required to scale programs across education and training
  • Strategies to attract, afford or retain resources across the education eco-system
  • Education and career-focused models
  • Strategies to introduce cybersecurity and privacy early in the process
  • Student population demographic and psychographic forecasts
  • Retraining the workforce of the future

Georgia Tech is a key partner in the GCRT. Learn more about education and research in cybersecurity and privacy at Georgia Tech.