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Study of Terrorism Improves Safety


Organizations that deal with security use knowledge learned from terrorist attacks to prevent, or at least respond to, future ones. Many security personnel look to Pitt for help.

The Department of Homeland Security and other federal-level agencies often seek advice from Pitt’s Center for National Preparedness (CNP), codirected by professors Ken Sochats of the School of Information Sciences and Margaret A. Potter of the Graduate School of Public Health.

At the state level, CNP provides training in critical skills including cyber security, public health surveillance, nursing, and EMA/Fire/EMS training. Education in the form of classes and programs is CNP’s main focus at the community level.

Along with professor Carey Balaban, Sochats also directs the Pennsylvania Dynamic Discrete Disaster Decision Support System (D4S2), an “all hazards” disaster modeling system. Most such projects consider one specific problem, such as a chemical or biological attack, but D4S2 is designed to simulate virtually any hazard, including natural disasters like hurricanes and tsunamis.

As the risk of cyberterrorism grows, information security becomes more important. Pitt’s Laboratory for Education and Research on Security Assured Information Systems helps fight phishing attacks, malware, and computer viruses.