Cybersecurity for Manufacturing

Executive Summary – Overview

UMBC in partnership with national digital manufacturing institute MxD, launched a new program to provide cybersecurity training for current manufacturing workers. MxD is one of 14 federally-supported institutes known collectively as Manufacturing USA. While manufacturers encounter typical business vulnerabilities such as stolen intellectual property, they also face unique threats because of increasingly connected manufacturing floors. The program comes at a crucial time. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased remote work and remote manufacturing operations, which can make businesses more vulnerable to attack. As a result, job openings in manufacturing cybersecurity, which were growing prior to the pandemic, are expected to grow more rapidly. This UMBC collaboration will be the first initiative focused on increasing manufacturing workers’ knowledge of cybersecurity. The content of this program is completely new, as there are no existing platforms that focus on the intersection of cybersecurity and manufacturing.

Technical Challenges/Activities

This is a multi multi-phased project began with an identification of the skills most needed for cybersecurity roles and the selection of individuals to form the first training cohort. UMBC and the Digital Manufacturing Institute (MxD) are developing a training platform, CyMOT that will revolutionize competency-based learning at the intersection of cybersecurity and manufacturing. CyMOT will upskill practitioners in the manufacturing industry in cybersecurity principles. CyMOT will help practitioners fill in specific job roles in cybersecurity, manufacturing, and operational technology. CyMOT is built with personalized synchronous, asynchronous, and experiential training modules that obviates the need for long tedious cybersecurity training.

The collaborators are developing a curriculum for web-based courses on cybersecurity fundamentals. The pilot cohort will take the initial courses and then participate in a rigorous evaluation of the material using UMBC’s Cybersecurity Concepts Inventory (CCI). The goal is for participants to earn a certification for a cybersecurity role in manufacturing. Eventually, more advanced training and specialized coursework could be delivered with immersive training technologies such as virtual reality.

Potential Impact

People will going through the program will achieve a certification that shows they have the tools to be successful; in a cybersecurity role in manufacturing. There is a dual benefit of upskilling workers who may have been displaced during the COVID-19 crisis and increasing the security of U.S. manufacturers for cyber-attacks. COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased unemployment and a need for more opportunities for workers to quickly expand their skill sets. With this in mind, the program will be designed for workers to complete in less than a year and through a web-based format.

Project Members

Faculty from UMBC: Dr. Nilanjan Banerjee, PI. Co-PI’s include Donna Ruginski, executive director of cybersecurity initiatives at UMBC, and Keith J Bowman, dean of UMBC’s College of Engineering and Information Technology. Alan Sherman, professor of CSEE; Linda Olivia, assistant professor of education; and Megean Garvin, director of research and assessment for the Maryland Center for Computing, along with UMBC Ph.D. Student Enis Golaszewski.

This project is funded by the Department of Defense, Office of Economic Adjustment.