These days, we live our lives by the smartphone and the computer. From our pockets and purses to our places of work, electronic devices that can access the internet have revolutionized the way we communicate and store information. As cyber tools have inundated our daily lives, however, so have the criminals trying to take advantage of this technology at our expense.
To protect families and businesses from these types of crimes, cyber security professionals work to proactively fight digital warfare and keep our private information safe. A wide range of careers in the field, including Security Analysts, Network Engineers, Forensics Experts, Computer Crime Investigators, Cryptanalysts, Incident Responders, and others, are seeing exponential growth forecasts in the next decade, and Rose State is helping answer the call.
With more than 50,000 information security and cyber security job openings in America today, there’s no shortage of opportunities to change the world as a digital crime fighter.
Identity theft and hacking are probably the most well-known forms of cybercrime, but threats today include everything from fraudulent record-keeping and intellectual property crime to stalking, malware installation, and corporate data breaches. Companies like eBay, UPS, Target, and JPMorgan Chase have all fallen victim to data breaches in recent years, compromising their customers’ financial and personal information.
Unfortunately, these crimes are just the tip of the iceberg. Most cybercrime actually occurs in the Deep Web, beyond the surface-level web pages traceable by search engines. User databases, email lists, and password-encrypted pages are the targets of most cyber criminals.
Ken Dewey, Director of the Cyber Security program at Rose State, attributes part of the rise in cybercrime to a lack of public education. “Everyone has a smartphone and computer. What is your password? Is it ‘password?’ Identify theft and phishing email scams are huge, mainly because people aren’t protecting themselves,” Dewey says.
“I’ve heard stories of people receiving emails from ‘Apple’ saying that someone in your household has made a purchase, and if it wasn’t you, just give your information and they’ll issue a refund. Many parents fall for this scam, simply because they’re not educated on the topic,” Dewey says.
Cyber security professionals can help fight against crimes as simple as email scams or as large-scale as threats to national security and military intelligence.
To protect against a wide range of digital threats and to deal with issues when they arise, many types of security professionals are in demand.
Graduates from Rose State’s program can pursue careers in several areas:
Because training more cyber security professionals is such a high priority across the nation, the Department of Homeland Security has an initiative to promote the study and practice of cyber security.
This effort, known as The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS), shows DHS’s commitment to helping organizations protect their businesses and meet the challenges of the future.
In the 12 years since the program’s inception, Rose State’s Cyber Security Department has graduated more than 300 students. Both the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security recognize Rose State as a Center of Excellence in Cyber Security.
Rose State Cyber Security Program Director Ken Dewey explains that Rose State focuses its cyber security curriculum on prevention when it comes to digital warfare, while giving students the tools they need to solve these problems as they arise.
“Our classes focus more on how to protect businesses and how to prevent these attacks,” Dewey says. “We don’t focus on teaching our students how to break into these systems but how to prevent that from happening in the first place. We explain how it happens and why it happens.”
Dewey teaches a night class in which students learn how to recover deleted files. He first shows students how to do it, and then assigns a project where students must recover the files themselves. “We get really hands-on in these classes,” Dewey says. “By time they leave my class, they will know how to do it.”
Corporate data breaches made the news plenty of times in 2016. Dewey predicts other cyber security issues will trend in 2017, and organizations need to be prepared.
“Phishing will continue in 2017 and will be a big issue moving forward. With all the smart devices — smart thermostats, smartphones, etcetera — these items made (in foreign countries), people can get into them. They can get into your camera remotely, which is connected to your router, and infect it with malware,” Dewey explains. “We’ll continue to see more and more of those crimes, along with ransomware. Ransomware is everywhere.” This type of crime involves a hacker taking control of a device and then demanding the owner pay a sum of money to regain control.
Issues like these are forecasted to keep happening across the country, but cyber security professionals are still needed right here in Oklahoma. Dewey is confident in the job outlook for cyber security in our state.
“Cyber security is going to continue to grow. Any field with the word ‘technology’ is growing. There are 140,000 job openings in the federal government for cyber security right now, and we’re seeing 75 percent growth in jobs in this area,” Dewey says.
Rose State graduates are working for places like Devon, Chesapeake, Dell, and Tinker Air Force Base, with starting salaries sometimes nearing six figures. “They’re getting their foot in the door and then moving up to big agencies, like Google and DISA (Defense Information Systems Agency),” Dewey says.