Why Cyber Security Awareness is Actually the Scariest Part of October.

“Cyber crime, by definition, is the greatest threat to every profession, every industry, every company in the world.”

–Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and CEO of IBM

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and the Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence wants to emphasize to our amazing Minnesota State faculty how important it is to help students be aware of cybersecurity and the impact it will have on almost all future career fields.

Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting networks, systems, programs, and data from criminal or unauthorized use. Globally, cyber crimes cost $600 billion per year, and by 2021 the cost is expected to rise to $6 trillion.  Cybersecurity Ventures compares the money lost to “an invisible bank robbery netting more money than the global trade of all major illegal drugs combined.”

As networks continue to connect everything in our daily lives – it is extremely important to build a workforce with the capability to be prepared against threats and also fight back against hackers and cyberterrorists when they strike.  Any career field that uses computers is vulnerable, and this fear goes well beyond the stealing of personal and financial information.

A few examples:

  • Medical devices that run off wireless communication are vulnerable to hackers. Pacemakers, defibrillators, and brain neurostimulators are a few of the common medical devices that could be affected.  As an example, Medtronic recently recalled insulin pumps that a hacker could connect to wirelessly and have the ability to unknowingly change the amount of meds being delivered to a patient.
  • Russian hackers have been caught with direct access to U.S. Power Company utility system controls, giving them the ability to stop electricity into US homes and businesses at the push of a button.
  • College systems have also been hacked.  The Iranian government sponsored a cyber ring that broke into the networks of 144 American universities with the goal of stealing scientific research.  They ended up with 31 terabytes of intellectual property and caused $3.4 billion worth of damages.  This was all done with a simple phishing email requesting professors change passwords and login info.

So, what can college faculty and advisors do? 

  • Encourage student involvement in Cyber majors or minors and/or activities.
  • Encourage students to learn more about or to go into this field.

According to the Cybersecurity Jobs Report, the unemployment rate in cyber security currently sits at 0. Also, this career is listed as one of the top 20 growing fields in the country – the growth rate for information security positions is projected at 32% from 2018 to 2028 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and by 2021 there are expected to be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs.

In addition, cyber pays well. The current average pay is $98,350 per year, an average of $47 per hour. Most jobs need only a four year degree, yet these salaries are comparable to what some doctors and lawyers make. Better yet, a well paying and in demand career, with less schooling and less loans. 

The top industries for cybersecurity are in banking, IT, government (defense and nondefense), and consulting. There are many positions available nationally and internationally, and jobs are available in all size industries and organizations.  Job titles include Cyber Defense Incident Responders, IT Project Managers, Software Developers, Systems Administrators, and many more.  Students can Explore Cybersecurity Career Options: HERE

Typical duties can include monitoring networks, recommending security enhancements, developing a security game plan, and conducting testing to find vulnerable areas.  In addition, skills like creativity and good communication are also needed.  Security is a fantastic field for someone looking to change careers, as a diverse background can also be an asset.

One way that you can help students learn about cybersecurity careers is by encouraging them to attend  Student 360 on January 31, 2020. Or, by attending the event yourself.

Student360 is a student-focused event based off of the Secure360 Conference. This educational event offers professional advancement/career sessions, tech sessions, and a career pavilion for recruiting and interviews. It is hosted by the Upper Midwest Security Alliance (UMSA). UMSA is an alliance of security and risk-related organizations that collaborates with associations, educators and industry-leading companies to provide professional development opportunities that contribute to a stronger security foundation for organizations.

This stimulating and well run event takes place at Target Northern Campus this year.

Student pricing

$35 thru 12/6/19

$40 thru 1/29/20

Professor pricing

$50 thru 12/6/19

$55 thru 1/29/20

To encourage students from various IT security, risk management and cybersecurity programs around the upper Midwest to attend this event, UMSA is offering discount codes to provide to your students for $10 off the current registration fee. This discount is good until January 24, 2020. Please contact Marie Strawser at director@umsa-security.org for your discount code.

Learn More Here: https://secure360.org/student360/