How collegiate cyber competitions are inspiring tomorrow’s workforce

Cybersecurity roles involve critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and handling fallout that could potentially cripple a business. While students may read about and discuss the foundation of this career in in the classroom, they need real-world experiences. Collegiate cyber competitions play a critical role in today’s modern-day curriculum, allowing students to understand the pressure, consequences, teamwork, and rewards for a career in cyber.

The benefits of competing in a collegiate cyber competition

As team captain for the University of Virginia at the National Collegiate Cybersecurity Defense Competition (NCCDC), I’ve seen firsthand how collegiate competitions help build a foundation for a career in cyber. More than 235 colleges and universities from across the country tested their cybersecurity skills in real-world business scenarios while industry professionals launched attacks against their networks. Participating in NCCDC taught me four lessons I couldn’t have learned exclusively in a standard college curriculum.

4 lessons students learn in cyber competitions

1. Technical skills: In a classroom, professors tell us how a network works, but it’s not until you’re defending a live network in a cyber competition that you can fully understand the technical skills you need to be successful. Hands-on experience is key to successfully learning new skills. The networks we defended during the competition were similar to the infrastructure found in a real-world business—something students don’t get exposed to in the curriculum. It was exciting to see how a business network actually operates and how to best defend it when we were under attack.…Read More

How to save thousands with these free cybersecurity programs

Cybersecurity is one of the most pressing issues facing higher ed. Unfortunately, third-party penetration testing and vulnerability assessments can be incredibly expensive, especially for large universities. It may sound too good to be true, but there is a suite of cybersecurity programs offered for free to help private companies and higher-ed institutions mitigate the risks of cyber threats.

National cybersecurity assessments and technical services

The Department of Homeland Security provides a series of cybersecurity programs through their National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC). As part of the NCCIC, the National Cybersecurity Assessments and Technical Services (NCATS) team aims to help prevent cybersecurity breaches and provide assistance if an incident does occur. Their mission “is to measurably decrease the risks present in our Nation’s cybersecurity infrastructure,” and according to their annual report, they’re doing a great job of fulfilling that promise. In fiscal year 2017, NCATS helped mitigate 300,000 vulnerabilities while conducting cyber hygiene scans for more than 600 government and private sector stakeholders.

Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to speak with a few members of the NCATS team to discuss their programs, the application process, and some of the concerns that we and others had about their offerings. What follows is the summation of that interview, an interview with one of their clients, and additional research into the programs they offer.…Read More

How do you handle cybersecurity threats?

Indiana University, Northwestern University, Purdue University, Rutgers University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have launched OmniSOC, a cybersecurity operations center, or SOC, that provides rapid, actionable cybersecurity intelligence to its members.

OmniSOC is a pioneering initiative of these Big Ten Academic Alliance universities. The goal is to help higher education institutions reduce the time from first awareness of a cybersecurity threat to mitigation for members.

University campuses offer a cyber criminal’s dream, security experts say.…Read More

Students and IT pros weigh in on cybersecurity

Across the country, colleges and universities are on high alert to protect against cyber attacks. From WannaCry to Petya, the recent proliferation of ransomware, malware, and distributed denial of service attacks are cause for concern, thanks to institutions’ open environments and rich stores of personally identifiable information. According to Gemalto, education-data breaches doubled in the first half of 2017.

College IT teams strive to protect their campuses, but IT pros are only part of the equation. For adequate protection, students must also play an active role in cyber safety. CDW-G’s recent survey of 250 higher education IT professionals and 300 students took a closer look at the cybersecurity efforts and concerns of both groups.

Prevention is best…Read More

University cybersecurity: Different, but still the same

Universities are shoring up their cybersecurity strategies amid a rising wave of attacks on their networks, GCN reports. Schools from the University of North Carolina to the University of California at Berkeley have doubled the size of their IT staffs and/or budgets in order to address the problem.

A challenge many say university IT managers face is striking a balance between protecting sensitive information while allowing the open sharing of information characteristic of educational institutions. “A university environment is very different from a corporation or a government agency, because of the kind of openness and free flow of information you’re trying to promote,” David Shaw, Purdue University’s CISO, recently told the New York Times.

But although a university network may be set up differently than a government agency’s, when it comes to security, “I’m not sure if they really do differ,” said Will Pelgrin, president and CEO of the Center Internet Security and former chief cybersecurity officer for New York State.…Read More

IU joins $2 million cybersecurity effort

Indiana University Vice President and CIO Brad Wheeler and Internet2 President and CEO David Lambert today announced a $2 million initiative to stimulate collaboration in higher education cybersecurity efforts and to provide leadership on strategic cybersecurity issues nationally and globally, the Indiana Business Journal reports. Speaking at the Internet2 Annual Meeting in Arlington, Virginia, Lambert and Wheeler invited the presidents and CIOs of other colleges and universities to join as investors and sponsors of this initiative. They noted that the higher education sector is unique in having significant cyber activities in research, education and operations. This initiative is intended to stimulate more interaction among these activities to further higher education contributions to national efforts. This new collaboration will immediately launch a national search for an executive director with significant operational experience in cybersecurity in the higher education community.

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Obama’s internet plan sounds an awful lot like a national internet ID

White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt announce to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research on Friday that President Obama intended to turn over development of a national Internet ID to the Commerce Department, reports ReadWriteWeb. Pursuant to the Orwellian-sounding National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which the administration is currently writing, Commerce will create a program to provide and administer an allegedly voluntary interoperable verified online IDs. An early draft makes the case for such an ID…

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