UNLV grads, Las Vegas Strip resorts team up to tackle cyber-security risks

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UNLV grads, Las Vegas Strip resorts team up to tackle cyber-security risks
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LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– Graduate students at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) are working with major resorts and casinos in the battle against cyber security attacks.

The students are competing in National Cyber League, a virtual training ground that challenges participants to solve real-world cyber security challenges, using a safe platform.

“The bad guys keep getting better. We need talent,” Dr. Dan Manson said.

Dr. Manson teaches cyber security at UNLV, he said NCL is a way to challenge his own students against others around the country to test their skills and meet the relentless demand.

“We have 500,000 professionals nationwide, but we need close to a million,” he said, “and Las Vegas is no exception.”

The Las Vegas Strip is a huge target for cyber security attacks and experts agree it’s taken a while for the resort industry to wake up to the online threat.

“Cyber security was not a big deal for a while,” Greg Moody, director of UNLV’s Cyber Security Program said.

Casinos have since taken notice. Jim Barbee handles IT for the Nevada Gaming Control Board, he said it’s working on new cyber security regulations.

“You can’t operate in a box any longer,’ Barbee said. “Maybe years ago, there might have been a notion that gaming operations were disconnected.”

With more gaming online, it can make major operations more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The new regulations would require casinos to evaluate their cyber security risks top-to-bottom. However, that risk assessment isn’t designed to be public, which means regulators may never see them unless something bad happens.

Which is why this program at UNLV is so important. The university is working with major resorts to create a roster of talent that can grow here and stay here.