Who knew Kean had a center for cybersecurity?

Credit: Rafaela Teixeira

Credit: Rafaela Teixeira

By Rafaela Teixeira | Published April 7, 2017

The Center for Cybersecurity is about three things: academic courses, a laboratory under development and working with the state to teach young minds about cybersecurity awareness.

The center started on January 4th, 2016 and began with a request by Kean University’s President Dawood Farahi to further grow the Center for Cybersecurity. Originally, the center was under the Criminal Justice program, with the intention of branching out and eventually becoming its own major and degree.

Since then, several courses have been created including Foundations in Cyber Crime, offered since Fall 2016, among others that are awaiting approval. Students with majors in Computer Science, Business or Criminal Justice are enrolling in these courses as electives to gain further knowledge about how to digitally protect their files, documents and other materials.

Cybersecurity is also keeping in contact with the Computer Science department because a lot of their courses complement each other, said Walter Rant.

However, Cybersecurity does not want to replicate the courses provided in Computer Science.

Walter Rant, a retired Colonel in the U.S Army, as well as a retired FBI Agent, serves as Managing Director of the Center for Cybersecurity at Kean University.

He said many reports have been circling the news about government agencies utilizing smart phones and TVs to hear conversations, as well as visually gathering information by using cameras.

Citizens are repulsed by the idea of someone watching their every move and of course have questioned the ethics of our government.

Credit: Rafaela Teixeira

Credit: Rafaela Teixeira

On June 8, Kean will be co-sponsoring, along with the Small Business Development Center, a conference on the “Internet of Things, More things, Less security”.

“Today’s youth cannot get enough of technology and with ease and ability, you’re giving up security,” Rant said. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that today’s age of ‘smart stuff ’ can go both ways, it can be used against us.”

He explained that multiple stories have gone around about people hacking into systems to utilize technology to gather information.

“…like what is being discussed in an office. You can listen for a year and not find anything out, but all you have to do is listen to that one conversation, that one deal, and it was worth all your time”, Rant said.

Cybersecurity knowledge is important because those who use technology and smart devices need to understand how to protect themselves, as well as protect their personal information.

The Center for Cybersecurity helps teach this generation what to do to ensure their own safety, he noted.

“I came up when there weren’t any computers,” he said. “… Computers came with no instruction book, and no Dos and Don’ts of using them, but everyone loved it. Even the younger generation loves it because everyone is putting their lives out there. You’ve just given up what the country is supposed to be about; security, individualism, and privacy. But there isn’t any privacy if you put things like your birthday online”.

Technology is constantly getting smarter and has much to off er. However, consumers may only use a fraction of all that comes with it. So if a hacker wants to hack into a system, the consumer wouldn’t know what to do.

Some tips for college students are to be understanding and aware of their electronic surroundings and the systems they are using. Students also need to learn how to protect themselves.

One small step in doing so is by not releasing personal information for everyone to see because that information will, in the future, be used for health, business, and financial purposes.

“If students don’t maintain some sort of security awareness on their private information, they are going to get hacked, and their lives are going to get messed up and it will take a long time to get that straightened out,” he said.

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