A brazen cyberattack has sparked a disruption in the fuel supply chain in the southeastern United States.
The ransomware attack against Colonial Pipeline temporarily halted the shipment of fuel which officials hope to restore soon. It’s hacks like this one that students in Grambling State University’s (GSU) Cybersecurity program are training to prevent.
“To meet the current cybersecurity demand in the state and country, Grambling State University started a new degree program in cybersecurity,” said Yenumula Reddy, GSU professor and program coordinator for the Department of Computer Science and Digital Technologies. “The students who graduate from this program will be on the frontline of national security to prevent the cyberattacks and make a difference.”
Because of the technological era that we live in, the number of people and devices are increasing exponentially and are bound to be hacked, he said.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, one in three homes with computers are infected with malicious software and 47% of American adults have had their personal information exposed by cyber criminals.
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in February 2021, hackers attempted to raise the levels of sodium hydroxide in the water supply of the Florida community by a factor of 100 by exploiting a remote access system.
In April 2021, malware triggered an outage for airline reservation systems that caused the networks of 20 low-cost airlines around the world to be disrupted.
“Cyberattacks can cause electrical blackouts, failure of military equipment, and breaches of national security secrets, financial transactions, military operations, and businesses,” Reddy said, adding that the Colonial Pipeline hack is a new extreme for ransomware.
He said Grambling’s cybersecurity program can help fill the gap of cybersecurity positions in the nation. It covers foundations of cybersecurity; information system threats, attacks, and defenses; operating system security, software security, computer network security, and more.
Students who graduate from the program can pursue such career paths as cybersecurity, information security analyst, cybersecurity consultant, cyber security administrator, network engineer — only naming a few, Reddy said.
“The students with a degree in cybersecurity are high in demand,” he explained, adding that “Our spring graduate got an offer and will start working in June 2021.”
Alexis White, of Arcadia is the first graduate of the GSU’s cybersecurity program. She will begin an apprenticeship as a cyber analyst at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited which provides audit and assurance services, risk and financial advisory services, and more.
Reddy said the university plans to apply for accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology for 2023 and hopes to become the first cybersecurity-accredited program in Louisiana.
To find more information about the cybersecurity program at Grambling State University, go online to http://www.gram.edu/cybersecurity.