Russia cyber attack prevented by EWU students


By Jamie Nelson, Contributer

Eastern Washington University was named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (NCAE-C) by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency (NSA).

Including EWU, there are 10 NCAE-Cs in Washington state. Eastern is the first and only four-year university to receive this recognition on the east side of the state.

“I feel really honored to put Eastern on the map for academic excellence,” said Stu Steiner, Assistant Professor of Computer Science.

The cyber security program is now recognized by federal agencies which will bring funding and growth to the department for current and future students. The NSA approves these programs based on the institution’s current cyber security studies and achievements. The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies states “institutions are designated [as an NCAE-C] based on their robust degree programs and close alignment to specific cybersecurity-related knowledge units.” 

One of EWU’s recognitions is their work with the PISCES Project. The PISCES project provides cyber security support to small municipalities with the help of local students. This gives real-world experience to college students in the field. In April 2021, EWU computer science students saved the city of Spokane Valley from a Russian cyber attack. “This is one thing that put us on the map,” said Steiner. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the job outlook for an information security analyst to be 33% increase in the available jobs in the field within the next decade. That’s about 47,000 jobs. The demand for cyber security professionals is only going to increase for this nation. 

The demand for jobs in cybersecurity and Eastern’s academic excellence in cyber defense are sure to keep bringing new students and interest to the university in the years to come.