Cybersecurity education is increasingly important in a tech-based world, and for good reason. Some of the worst data breaches have exposed exceptionally sensitive information and have higlighted the need for a steady crop of trained experts to combat these threats.
Cybersecurity experts at Purdue University Global predict that 2019 is on track to be the worst year for data breaches.
In fact, the number of data breaches in the first six months of 2019 is up 54 percent compared to the same period in 2018, and the number of exposed data records is up by 52 percent, according to a report from Risk Based Security. In those six months, more than 3,800 data breaches were reported, exposing more than 4.1 billion records.
Many organizations hire full-time “ethical hackers,” or “white hats,” to monitor what has become a constant threat of attack and cybersecurity breach. Instead of trying to steal information from computers and exploit it for themselves, ethical hackers help companies find holes in security, close back door access, and plug gaps in cybersecurity. Ethical hackers hack an organization’s systems to come up with recommendations to protect against such threats. They also try to replicate some of the destructive techniques a real cyberattack might employ, and they teach company leaders and employees how to protect sensitive information.
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“Companies and government agencies can’t fill IT security positions fast enough,” says Dr. Rhonda Chicone, a professor of IT and and a veteran IT professional. “We need a pipeline of qualified, well-rounded IT professionals to protect the intellectual property of these organizations.”
The need for cybersecurity education is larger than ever. A recently-released set of cybersecurity curriculum recommendations aims to improve postsecondary cybersecurity education and produce graduates ready to fill alarming workforce gaps.