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Education and Professional Studies

Cybersecurity Program Now Offered at CWU

According to former FBI Director Robert Mueller, there are only two types of companies: those that have been hacked, and those that will be. Government institutions are hardly immune—the US Navy sees 110,000 cyberattacks every hour, or more than 30 every single second. And it affects individuals as well—for example, more than 600,000 Facebook accounts are compromised every day. The estimated annual cost of global cybercrime is $100 billion.

To address the growing needs of government and industry, Central Washington University’s Information Technology and Administrative Management (ITAM) Department will now offer a minor in cybersecurity. The 24-credit program addresses identifying information-system vulnerabilities, tracking cybercriminals, and creating adequate defense solutions.

“Other colleges in Washington have cybersecurity programs, but ours will be the first that can be accessed entirely online,” said Gary Rogers, ITAM professor of networking and cybersecurity. Rogers has more than 25 years of experience in researching and investigating cybersecurity.

Rogers is acutely aware of the vulnerability of mobile and wireless networks, especially with individuals and small businesses. “Very few people have antivirus protection for their cellphones or tablets,” he noted. “And small businesses that don’t protect their wi-fi connection with even a password are putting everything they have at risk.”

The minor is complementary to many other CWU programs, such as law and justice, accounting, and computer science. “This program doesn’t require expertise in programming or coding,” said Rogers. “It’s designed to provide a basic understanding of cybersecurity, how to address vulnerabilities, and how to recognize and defend against attacks. In addition, we also feature digital forensics, a course designed to aid law enforcement in recovering digital evidence as well as tracking cybercriminals.”

Not all threats to cybersecurity are at the hands of hackers, related Rogers. He recounts how one business went strictly by the book in backing up and duplicating files, and storing the backups in a vault. Unfortunately, the business was in the path of Hurricane Sandy and the vault ended up submerged in water.

“We want our students to be able to assess all the risks to a system and develop creative solutions,” he said. “It’s an exciting field because it is changing all the time.”

The demand for people with cybersecurity skills shows no sign of slacking. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that network systems and information security professionals can expect job opportunities to grow by 43 percent through 2018.

For more information about the ITAM cybersecurity program, go to www.cwu.edu/it-management/new-cybersecurity-minor.


Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1518, valeriec@cwu.edu