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NMU faculty and students learn new automotive cybersecurity system

Trainees will potentially teach the system to other college students as well as kids of all ages
Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 6:06 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - With car monitors and a dashboard simulator, a group of Northern Michigan University faculty and students is learning how vehicles operate through coding.

“Not many schools have this kind of stuff,” said Dr. Jim Marquardson, an associate professor of Information Assurance and Cyber Defense. “We want to get this kind of technology in the hands of as many students as possible.”

Dr. Marquardson and others have been training this week to use a new cybersecurity system funded by a $2.4 million Marshall Plan for Cyber Talent Grant. Training instructor Tim Brom says it could be a difference maker for the school.

“I think it’s something that students should consider when thinking about a career in cybersecurity, especially in automotive cybersecurity,” he said. “There are just not many programs like this one.”

In a matter of months, other NMU students will be revving up and learning how specific coding goes from the computer to the dashboard. Trainees are also on track to teach kids of all ages about the system.

Dr. Marquardson says some K-12 students with basic coding experience could expand their horizons.

“They can transition those skills to learn how the code works on cars,” he stated. “Hopefully, they’ll be able to find ways to make those cars run securely.”

“Automotive cybersecurity wasn’t a career five years ago,” Brom explained. “It is now, so keeping up with how that industry’s changing and the change in requirements is important.”

With the new system, it could be code for a new wave of future automotive cybersecurity experts.

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