October 24, 2016

BATON ROUGE – We live in a digitized age where everything and everyone is connected. Our cars start automatically; we can lock our doors with a simple tap on a phone app. These technological advances enrich our lives, but they also introduce a new playing field for crime: cyberspace.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), and LSU College of Engineering hopes to train computer science students to combat these threats by expanding its cybersecurity curriculum.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) defines cybersecurity as the protection of information in cyberspace against cybercrime. This crime can include fraud, theft, abuse or any other crime that takes place online. Henry Capello, the Director of Information Systems at the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute who teaches a computer science course on cybersecurity and cyber defense, further considers cybersecurity a culture where everyone is aware of potential cyber threats and understands the risks associated with such attacks.

Cybersecurity protects information systems (IS)–systems made up of the people, processes and technology that govern information collection, organization, storage and sharing—and people typically only think of cybersecurity in regard to technology, which can lead to breaches or attacks.

“The biggest problem today is that most people only think of cybersecurity as protecting computers, and don’t consider other key components of an [information system],” Capello said, “thus leaving it up to the networking or computer help desk to solely ward off a motivated and persistent threat.”

According to Capello, a majority of cyber-attacks over the last few years are attributable to human action, both intentional and unintentional.

The LSU Division of Computer Science hopes to remedy this number by expanding education in cybersecurity. This semester, for the first time, the Division offered a special topics course on an introduction to cybersecurity and cyber defense, and it hired a new faculty member in that focus area.

Golden Richard III, an expert in the digital forensics facet of cybersecurity, will join the LSU faculty in the spring to teach a 4000-level cybersecurity course for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Division Chair Bijaya Karki hopes the department can soon offer a cybersecurity concentration. He aims to grow the concentration into a cybersecurity minor and then a cybersecurity major in computer science.

“There are an estimated 1.5 million shortages in information security professionals now, with an estimated 2 million in 2019,” Capello said. “LSU needs to embrace this challenge and bring cybersecurity education to our region.”

About National Cyber Security Awareness Month

DHS hosts NCSAM every October to increase awareness and educate the public about cybersecurity. DHS offers resources that give advice on staying safe online. The campaign also aims to increase the resilience of the public in the event of a nationwide cybersecurity breach.

Each week, NCSAM spotlights a different aspect of cybersecurity. This week, the theme is “Our Continuously Connected Lives: What’s Your ‘Apptitude’?” It focuses on how the internet connects the individual to everything. Technology is rapidly evolving, and cybersecurity is there to make sure it evolves in a safe and secure way.

DHS and NCSAM offer a variety of resources on cybersecurity. The website, www.staysafeonline.org, provides resources on cybersecurity for any audience ranging from kids to professionals in the workforce. Follow along with NCSAM on social media with #CyberAware.

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For more information, contact Caroline Byrne at cbyrne4@lsu.edu or (225) 578-4630.

 



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