Continued innovation and more people trained to combat an array of malicious actors and ever-evolving threats are needed in cybersecurity, experts in the field said at a symposium at the University of Cincinnati.
UC’s Ohio Cyber Range Institute (OCRI) hosted its fourth annual Cybersecurity Education Symposium for cybersecurity educators, experts, and thought leaders from across the state and nation on October 12 at UC Digital Futures. During the symposium, more than 150 attendees heard about cybersecurity threats and how government and industry are responding.
“The threats we face today as a nation and as a state are very, very real,” said Col. Gregg Hesterman, Director of Transformation and Cyber Mission Recruitment and Retention of the Ohio Air National Guard. “It used to be that you had to worry about the kid in his mom’s basement hacking into your email account and doing something nefarious. Today, organized cybercrime is exploding. And when you think about competition between nation states, it’s a very real daily threat. We can’t wait for another 9/11 to respond. We have to be ready now every day.
Stephanie Domas, chief security technology strategist at Intel, said enterprise security isn’t the only threat, as product security is another key aspect of cybersecurity. Things like heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems or a child’s doll can be hacked and open up major vulnerabilities, she said.
“The threat landscape continues to grow. It continues to evolve,” Domas said. “The old threats that we had before are unfortunately not going anywhere. They keep evolving to torment us, but we also have revolutionary threats, things we never thought we’d see.
Unified Communications is uniquely positioned to help combat growing threats. The university was chosen to develop and administer OCRI because of its multidisciplinary expertise and demonstrated collaborative approach. One of OCRI’s missions is to manage the statewide Cyber Range, an integrated cyber education, workforce, and economic development platform that began its activities in each congressional district during its first year of operation.
“What’s amazing is how the entire state of Ohio has come together on this initiative,” said Valerio Ferme, PhD, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at UC. .
The four co-chairs of OCRI come from three UC colleges: College of Engineering and Applied Science (Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science), College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services (School of Information Technology) and College of Arts and Sciences (School of Public and International Affairs). UC is one of 18 institutions nationwide to hold National Security Agency designation as Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations and Cyber Defense.
“UC’s commitment to OCRI is evident at the highest levels of leadership,” said Rebekah Michael, executive director of staff at OCRI and associate professor in the School of Information Technology at the University. ‘UC.
Before joining Intel a year and a half ago, Domas spent 10 years doing ethical hacking, reverse engineering and advanced vulnerability analysis. She also created and led two cybersecurity companies.
She said there is no such thing as a secure device and security needs to be addressed all the time.
“Security is not a one-time thing you do to a product,” she said. “It’s a process, it’s a continuous loop, as you design this product.”
The average time to detect and contain a malicious breach is 315 days, Domas said, giving malicious individuals and organizations months to potentially wreak havoc.
“We can’t secure everything just by practices,” she said. “We need to innovate in the technology we use to address some of these threats.”
To develop this innovation, Colonel Hesterman said it is imperative to train individuals not only for initial skills, but also to provide ongoing training to work in an ever-changing environment.
“You can have the most beautiful infrastructure possible, the most secure network possible, but if you don’t have the right people at the keyboard to do the job, you will not be anywhere near accomplishing the mission,” he said. he declares.
During a roundtable discussion on workforce development, Erick Alanson, director of IT and IT co-op programs at UC, said co-op programs develop the next wave of cybersecurity experts and enable students to apply the knowledge and skills they acquire in the classroom in real-world environments.
“There is a significant talent gap across the country and especially in the state,” Alanson said. “One of the ways we can address this talent gap right now is by implementing intentionally work-based integrated programs, like the University of Cincinnati’s co-op program.”
UC invented cooperative education in 1906 and ranks 4th nationally for cooperative. The university has nearly 2,000 global co-op program partners, with students participating in more than 7,500 co-op opportunities each year.
“My first co-op was an eye-opening moment,” said Shyam Pema, a 2016 UC alumnus who is an information security engineer at Total Quality Logistics and a security engineer and business consultant for ARMOUREYE, both in Cincinnati. “It gave me a head start against some of my friends who weren’t doing co-ops. It gave me the opportunity to get hired out of college with a job when everyone was still struggling.
Benjamin Fraley, a 2017 UC alumnus who is now chief information security officer for Cincinnati-based The Health Collaborative, also said the UC co-op program prepared him for his career. .
“It teaches you the proper skills. It teaches you how to handle certain situations,” Fraley said. “Most importantly, it allowed me to network with many people working in cybersecurity who I have become friends with.”
OCRI is a partnership sponsored by the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Office of the Ohio Adjutant General’s Department of the Ohio National Guard and is headquartered at UC. OCRI’s goal is to advance an integrated approach to cybersecurity education, workforce, and economic development in cybersecurity-related fields throughout the state.
“We need entities staffed with trained personnel to protect these vital cyber networks,” Colonel Hesterman said. “It protects our whole way of life. The cyber reality and the persistent threats that lurk our networks every day really require a national approach.
Guests were able to attend breakout sessions during the symposium tailored to K-12 education, higher education, workforce development, and economic development. Industry and education experts presented topics on cybersecurity challenges.
To close out the symposium, two new regional programming centers – Cuyahoga Community College and Shawnee State University – were dedicated to the OCRI ecosystem, bringing the total number of RPCs statewide to 17.
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