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Staying Ahead Of Cyber Crime

Published: October 17, 2016

“Did I just get hacked?”

That’s a question individuals with Yahoo accounts were probably asking themselves on Sept. 22 when the technology giant confirmed that data “associated with at least 500 million user accounts” was stolen in what may be one of the largest cybersecurity breaches ever.

In an attempt to stay—and keep—ahead of the game, CSULB’s College of Continuing and Professional Education (CCPE) is offering a Cybersecurity Certificate Program. The program is suggested for criminal justice students, private investigators, legal professionals, law enforcement and military personnel, or even private citizens with an interest in identity theft protection.

“In law enforcement, this is becoming a very high percentage of the crimes that are occurring,” said Mickey Bennett, who runs Training Alliance for Public Safety, Inc., based in Sacramento and also serves as the program facilitator. “As most of us know, cybercrime is a daily occurrence and it’s only getting worse.”

The goal of the program is to teach the basics of cybersecurity response and investigation and response, which includes digital media analysis, investigation, malware analysis, Internet and intranet investigations, electronic discovery (aka eDiscovery), physical asset protection, incident response, local and international legal issues and cyber threat intelligence.

It is designed to prepare individuals for cybersecurity employment opportunities in today’s emerging digital workforce. Featuring a series of progressive and interactive individual courses, the program aims to help students develop technical skills that are in high demand by employers. Participants will also gain the proficiency required to pass parts of independent evaluation examinations including Certified Information System Security Professional, Certified Information Systems Auditor and/or Certified Information Security Manager.

“The primary goal of this program is to make sure students who complete the program have the ability to recognize and identify cyber security attacks, so if something happens on a computer, they can determine if it’s just an error in the program or if their organization is under attack,” said Denis Arsenault, a CCPE program developer. “This will train them on how to double check to make sure something is coming from a legitimate source.”

The pilot program contains four modules run over a period of 20 weeks. Three of the modules will be done completely online with a fourth (the second in order) to be held in a classroom setting to provide a hands-on experience.

“We feel it’s important to bring those students in to show the hands-on portion of cyber security,” said Arsenault. “It’s to give them a kind of a ‘looking under the hood’ experience. After completing this class successfully, individuals will be able to collect evidence off a phone or a computer.”

Michael Menz, a global cyber security senior manager at Hewlett Packard (HP), will be the course instructor.

“In addition to his position at HP, he is also a reserve deputy sheriff dealing with high-tech crime,” said Bennett, a former police officer who has worked with Menz for more than 20 years on various cybersecurity programs. “His background and experience in this field is quite extensive.”

Image of a lock with the laptop describing the cyber security

Bennett and Arsenault are clear that the program won’t make students complete experts in all things cyber-security related. What it will do, however, is teach how to conduct initial investigations and respond accordingly. Individuals will be trained to be able to collect digital evidence. That’s where the classroom module is key, bringing equipment and people together at the same time, so they can learn how to collect evidence off computer data storage systems and how they can search different files and focus in on the problem.

“We want our graduates to recognize when there is a real problem and to know who to reach out to for additional assistance,” said Bennett, “because in many cases they may need greater expertise.”

Arsenault is aware of the ever-changing world we live in and the serious need for programs like this to be up-to-date in order to stay a step ahead of potential hackers.

“Everything has to be in line with what’s going on in the industry,” he said. “I trust that the curriculum that’s prepared is spot on and relevant and pertinent to what the industry is talking about today and will be talking about tomorrow.”

One bit of free cyber security advice Bennett offered up is for those who rent cars.

“The last time you rented a car, did you connect your phone to the car to charge it up?” he asked. “If you did, you may have downloaded all of the information from your phone to the car, which will be there until the next person comes in and erases it or copies it.” Who knew?

Two ways around that, he noted, are to either purchase a cord that can only charge a device, not transfer information, or use the vehicle’s lighter outlet to power up.

For more information on the program, contact Arsenault at 562/985-7398.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

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