Higher Education Roundtable: Cybersecurity Courses/Careers

Higher Education Roundtable: Cybersecurity Courses/Careers


FOR THE FBI, CYBERSECURITY students are among the “most wanted” talent for the workforce of the future. This skill set is becoming vital for law enforcement, as cyberspace is now a dangerous neighborhood with criminals, hackers, foreign adversaries and terrorists trying to do America harm with viruses, malware, ransomware and destructive code designed to capture or destroy data. Banks, retailers, individuals and the federal government are all being targeted.

In fact, the U.S. Armed Forces—and the U.S. Coast Guard—are changing how they recruit to attract cyber pros who may not fancy boot camp. That’s right—even Uncle Sam needs “nerds” for both law enforcement and combat opera­tions.

 “We seek individuals with degrees, work experience or certificates in cyber,” says Christopher K. Stangl, the FBI’s Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Newark. “People can get a lot of infor­mation from our website, fbijobs.gov, and we use social media. We go to career fairs, and to colleges and univer­sities. The FBI is also piloting a cyber-STEM [science, technology, mathematics and engineering] program with several high schools to identify, attract and develop students. We also have an Honors Internship Program that can enable college graduates and under­grads with a variety of backgrounds to get an insider’s perspective on FBI law enforcement and intelligence opera­tions, while gaining valuable experience with a 10-week, paid internship.”

 Businesses, governments, nonprofits and individuals need cybersecurity pro­fessionals, so COMMERCE asked the fol­lowing higher education leaders to dis­cuss how their colleges and universities are preparing students for this growing career field:

● Berkeley College President Michael J. Smith;

● County College of Morris President Dr. Anthony J. Iacono;

● Eastwick College President Tom Eastwick;

● Montclair State University President Dr. Susan A. Cole;

● New Jersey Institute of Technology President Dr. Joel S. Bloom;

● Ocean County College President Dr. Jon H. Larson;

● Ramapo College of New Jersey President Dr. Peter P. Mercer;

● Stockton University President Dr. Harvey Kesselman;

● Thomas Edison State University President Dr. Merodie Hancock;

● William Paterson University President Dr. Richard Helldobler.

 Berkeley College By Michael J. Smith, President

Students at Berkeley College interested in cyber or Internet security careers can gain expertise and career placement assis­tance from a variety of resources to find valuable internships and employment. One student whose major is Justice Studies-Criminal Justice succeeded in getting an internship with the FBI’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Another student with a major in Information Technology Management is working with a local police department for her internship. The Network Security course includes Internet security. The Justice Studies-Criminal Justice program offers a career path in cybersecurity. A key unifying factor for student success at Berkeley College is the cohesive effort among the faculty, students and career service counselors, who create networks and partnerships in which students and graduates can thrive.

County College of Morris By Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, President

Designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), County College of Morris (CCM) is a national leader in preparing professionals for this important field. Our Information Security Certificate program is mapped to NSA/DHS stan­dards and our professors are nationally recognized leaders in setting the direc­tion of the country’s information securi­ty curriculum. Students at CCM, thereby, are well prepared to provide businesses, government and individuals with appro­priate cybersecurity measures to protect their digital assets. Additionally, CCM’s Center for Cyber Security assists with educating cybersecurity professionals, along with the community. High school students also can take advantage of CCM’s cybersecurity curriculum and earn college credit through a program offered with the Morris County Vocational School District.

Eastwick College By Tom Eastwick, President

Students at Eastwick College Nutley are immersed in the world of cybersecurity through our specialized computer and electronics technology associate degree. Networking plays a critical role in the daily operations for businesses (now more than ever) and it is with this in mind that we help our students become proficient in this area. Some of the core concepts covered include network infrastructure, current best practices within cybersecurity, and defensive and offensive network protec­tion. The program utilizes hands-on projects in malware, e-mail and web content protection and hacking behav­ior, including applicable concepts in ethics and relevant law. As Internet connectivity increasingly expands beyond laptops and desktop computers to devices such as smart watches, busi­ness automation and driverless trans­portation, the challenge to keep these devices safe (and the data on them) will be an increasing challenge. Our degree equips the next generation of techs with the knowledge, skills and abilities to take on these challenges.

Montclair State University By Dr. Susan A. Cole, President

As an emerging leader in computer science and information technology, Montclair State University provides New Jersey’s businesses with a highly skilled work­force and research-based innovations. Our new Master of Science in Cyber-security—housed in a state-of-the-art facility—educates professionals to meet the needs of employers in this growing field. Students graduate with strong computational skills and a grounding in the legal and ethical aspects of cybersecurity. Montclair State students learn from internationally recognized researchers who are conducting break­through work in data science, big data analytics and computational linguistics. In the past five years alone, our comput­er science faculty received $2.5 million in research grants and have published more than 200 research articles.

New Jersey Institute of Technology By Dr. Joel S. Bloom, President

All computer science undergraduates have a cybersecurity requirement, and all information tech­nology undergraduates are required to complete a course in computer and net­work security. At the graduate level, NJIT offers an M.S. in Cybersecurity and Privacy, and an M.S. in Information Technology Administration and Security. NJIT is designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the NSA and DHS. Under this umbrella, NJIT offers the CyberCorps M.S. program, a competitive program funded by the NSF. Accepted students receive full tuition, stipend and funds for professional development. In exchange, the student works as a cybersecurity professional in govern­ment after graduation for a period of time equal to the support period. NJIT also has an active Center for Cyber-security Research with four faculty and dozens of Ph.D. students, funded by the NSF and defense agencies, such as DARPA, DoD and ONR.

Ocean County College By Dr. Jon H. Larson, President

Ocean County College (OCC) now offers an Associate Degree in Computer Science with a Cyber-Information Security Option. This path is specifically tailored to students who plan to continue their studies or begin their careers in the field of information security. The Cyber- Information Security degree option is a broad program of study that covers the basics of cybersecurity. Students enrolled in this degree program will complete Information Security Fundamentals, Systems Analysis and Database Management, as well as additional com­puter science and criminal justice elec­tives. Upon degree completion, OCC stu­dents can seamlessly transfer their cred­its to institutions such as the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). This pro­vides OCC graduates the opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree at a global leader in the field of infor­mation security.

Ramapo College of New Jersey By Dr. Peter P. Mercer, President

We are launching degree programs in cybersecurity, digital forensics and data science— and for students in business degree programs—we offer new courses in these fields. Our Cybersecurity course covers privacy concerns, secrecy issues, operational security, physical security, hardware and software security, commu­nications security and data security. Students also learn cryptography and risk management, as well as how to design and create disaster recovery plans, computer policies and standards, system security architectures and physi­cal security controls. Also, our “Intro-duction to Digital Forensics” course covers digital forensic processes in response to cybercrime and ways to uncover, protect, exploit and document digital evidence. Students also learn techniques in computing investigation, digital evidence collection, cell phone and mobile device forensics and comput­er forensics reporting.

Stockton University By Dr. Harvey Kesselman, President

Stockton University’s B.S. degrees in Computer Science (CS) and Computer Information Systems (CIS) include courses on Cryptography and Data Security, and Software and Security Engineering. Our interdisci­plinary approach allows students in fields such as business and criminal jus­tice to minor in CIS and obtain the skills to work in cybersecurity. Students intern in Stockton’s Office of Information Security and data protection businesses such as Commvault. The Washington Internship Program provided a student the opportunity to work on cybersecurity issues for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security. The Homeland Security track in Stockton’s Master of Arts in Criminal Justice includes sections on cybersecurity and counterterrorism. Faculty also offer free workshops on Internet security, teaching local residents to protect their personal information.

Thomas Edison State University By Dr. Merodie Hancock, President

TESU offers workforce-responsive cybersecurity programs that prepare students for pivotal roles in securing the nation’s information assets and critical infrastructure. The School of Applied Science and Technology’s Bachelor of Science degree in Cyber-security helps students develop founda­tional expertise that responds to a bur­geoning skills gap and unprecedented industry demand. The Master of Science in Information Technology degree with specializations in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance enables them to translate that expertise to manage­ment and leadership roles. For those seeking specific credentials, we offer an Undergraduate Certificate in Cyber-security and a Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity-Critical Infrastructure designed to help employees advance in their careers. Our flexible online program structure allows students to earn industry-recognized credentials and expand their expertise without sacrificing professional and personal responsibilities.

William Paterson University By Dr. Richard Helldobler, President

Our bachelor’s degrees in computer science and computer information technology include the course “Fundamentals of Networking Information Assurance and Security,” which provides cyber-security assessment and defense strategies. “Cybersecurity and Information Assurance,” a new course in our business analytics master’s pro­gram, focuses on today’s challenges. The University’s School of Continuing and Professional Education (SCPE) oversees a new grant, Growing Apprenticeships in Nontraditional Sectors (GAINS) from the New Jersey Labor and Workforce Development Office of Apprenticeships. This USDOL Registered Apprenticeship program for computer systems analysts in informa­­­­tion technology/cybersecurity, in close collaboration with employer partners, combines classroom training and mentoring with related hands-on internship work experiences. Through the SCPE, we also provide technology certification in a wide range of cybersecurity specializations. In support of our commitment to cybersecurity readiness, our annual Cybersecurity and Big Data Analytics Symposium brings industry experts to campus to discuss strategies for addressing challenges in this critical field.

Five Cybersecurity Traps: Are You Prepared for Bad Actors?

By Tyler Cohen Wood, Inspired eLearning, LLC

We live in a world were cyber threats to corporate security can come from both internal and external sources. Here are the key dangers to be concerned about.

Dark Hotel Hacks. Hackers know that C-level executives travel often and use this knowledge to try to exploit that situation by compromising technology in hotel rooms. There are many ways hackers can use this technique, and they tend to be creative, such as com­promising USB phone charging outlets in hotel rooms by replacing them with hacked versions that exfiltrate data to the hackers. Use only your own charging equipment when charging phones and other devices. Avoid using lamp and desk-mounted outlets to charge your devices. Instead, use A/C outlets along the walls away from desk and bedside areas.

Whaling. This is the “Big Phish” version of Phishing that specifically targets CEOs. Protect yourself from whaling just as you would guard against any e-mail Phishing attack. Examine links within e-mails to deter­mine the source before clicking on them. Don’t download attachments from unknown sources. Don’t give away detailed information that a hacker can use to glean information about you on social media. Always use the strictest privacy settings on all your digital devices.

Business E-mail Compromise (BEC) Scams. Criminals use a faked or compromised e-mail that appears to come from the CEO directing Accounts Payable to wire money directly to a hacker under the guise of a legiti-mate request. To counter this threat, establish a two-factor authentication protocol with your Accounts Payable department, such as requiring a phone call with a code word for each transaction.

Evil-Twin Schemes. These scams can happen in tandem with Dark Hotel hacks. Recently, hackers have targeted executives by creating fake hotel Wi-Fi networks that closely mimic the real thing. CEOs must make sure they log on to the secure, hotel-authorized networks with the passwords they are provided at check-in.

Lack of Education. It is critically important for C-level executives to have a good understanding of their organization’s cybersecurity readiness, capabilities and weaknesses and employ a full security awareness training pro­gram for all employees at every level. Ensuring that you and your workforce know the latest threats and countermea­sures will help protect your company from falling victim to the latest hacks.

View all featured articles