Tag: michigan tech online

Foundations of Cybersecurity: New Certificate From MTU.

Michigan Tech is offering both a in-person and online certificate in the Foundations of Cybersecurity. In nine credits, students will learn how to identify and describe the foundational principles of securing both a computer system and a computer network. They’ll also study the fundamentals of secure software development and apply them effectively.

This credential addresses cyber crime, a costly and dangerous global problem.

Brief Case Study: The WannaCry Ransomware Attack

Flash backward to seven years ago.

In 2017, the WannaCry ransomware worm spread rapidly across computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system.

This worm first encrypted files and then demanded ransomware payments–first 300$ and then 600$ in bitcoins. Unfortunately, even those who paid the ransom, such as a friend of this writer, still lost their files.

Screenshot of the 2017 WannaCry Ransomware attack.
The WannaCry Attack. Image Credit: (https://cdn.securelist.com/files/2017/05/wannacry_05.png/)

How did this attack happen? The worm wriggled its way in through a vulnerability in Windows’ Server Message Block (SMBv1) protocol (EternalBlue), used for file and printer sharing on Windows networks. Then, it installed DoublePulsar as the “backdoor” on compromised computers.

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had previously disclosed the Eternal Blue weakness. Then, a hacking group called the Shadow Brokers leaked it onto the web and lurking cyber criminals took notice. Within a few days, WannaCry affected at least 200,000 computers and 300,000 devices in more than 150 countries. The attack caused widespread disruption, particularly in critical sectors such as healthcare, telecommunications, and manufacturing. One of the most notable victims was the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), which canceled both appointments and operations, turning patients away.

Microsoft quickly released security patches for versions of Windows with the Eternal Blue vulnerability. However, it had actually sent security patches two months earlier, which hadn’t taken effect because many organizations hadn’t taken the time to update their systems. Oops!

Training in the Foundations of Cybersecurity is Needed Now More Than Ever.

This attack, then, not only underscored the importance of updating systems regularly to install timely security patches, but also the need to quickly implement protocols of backup and recovery. Even more so, WannaCry revealed the demand for more well-trained, cybersecurity professionals from government agencies, private sector companies, and other organizations who could collaborate on and react quickly to global cyber crime incidents.

Along with ransomware, cybersecurity professionals must be ready to battle Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), Phishing and Social Engineering, Zero-day attacks, high-profile data breaches, DDoS attacks, and many other types of cyber crime. The changing nature of cyber threats also requires organizations to continually improve their defenses and adapt to new attack vectors.

And digital transformation, vehicle electrification, and Industry 4.0 pose new challenges as well. That is, as organizations move to cloud environments and the IoT (Internet of Things) continues to proliferate, cybersecurity professionals must safeguard infrastructures and predict possible vulnerabilities.

More troubling news: In the last decade or so, cyber attacks have grown in sophistication, frequency, and size. In fact, according to US News, “Data breaches and ID theft are still hitting records.” Recently, on July 4, while this blog was being drafted, Cybernews reported that a file containing 9,948,575,739 plain text passwords was posted on a hacker site by the user Obamacare. This file, known as the RockYou24 leak, was a compilation of passwords that were collected from 4000 databases over the last two decades. (Previously, the RockYou21 leak contained 8.5 billion of these same passwords.)

With these passwords, Cybernews explains that “threat actors could exploit the RockYou2024 password compilation to conduct brute-force attacks and gain unauthorized access to various online accounts used by individuals who employ passwords included in the dataset.”

Here are Some Other Startling Statistics About Cyber Crime:

The Cybersecurity Talent Gap is Expanding.

But perhaps one of the biggest challenge that cybersecurity professionals face is that there are not enough of them. That is, many organizations are struggling to fill critical positions. The global cybersecurity employment gap, which reached 4 million workers in 2023 (ISC2 2023), is expected to expand to 85 million by 2030.

The United States is one of those countries facing a shortage of cybersecurity professionals.

Interactive heatmap from cyberseek that provides information on cybersecurity jobs in the US.
This interactive heatmap by cyberseek provides both an overall and granular look into US cybersecurity jobs.

Between September 2022 and August 2023, 572,000 US jobs opened up in the cybersecurity industry. This number is up 74% from 2010.

And in the US, there were 1.18 million cybersecurity professionals employed between September 2022 and August 2023, which is also an an increase of 59% since 2010.

To help address this talent shortage, Michigan Tech is offering both online and in-person certificates in the Foundations of Cybersecurity, which start in Fall 2024. Students can complete this certificate or use the credits to dive deeper into cybersecurity and progress towards a master’s degree. They can choose from either Michigan Tech’s MS in Cybersecurity or the MS in Computer Science.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree in computer science, computer engineering, or software engineering. The online application is free and requires no GMAT or GRE.

This certificate adds to the roster of MTU’s already respected cybersecurity research program, recognized nationally for its academic and research excellence. In fact, the US National Security Agency designated MTU as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Research (CAE-R). This CAE-R designation, establishing that Michigan Tech has met the rigorous requirements set forth by the NSA, extends through the 2029 academic year.

The Future Looks Bright for Those with Skills in the Foundations of Cybersecurity.

When it comes to cybersecurity professionals, there are several possible career paths.

Take the career of Information Security Analyst, for instance. A person in this role will have several responsibilities. They must use and maintain software, such as firewalls and data encryption programs, to protect sensitive information. In addition, they must check for vulnerabilities in computer and network systems; research the latest information technology (IT) security trends; and prepare reports that document general metrics, attempted attacks, and security breaches.

Being vigilant and proactive are also essential traits of this cybersecurity professional as they strive to develop security standards and best practices for their organization and timely recommend security enhancements. And they are also heavily involved with creating their organization’s disaster recovery plan, which IT employees must follow in case of emergency.

Because of the importance of these tasks, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a need for several tens of thousands of these analysts, with a career growth of 32% (much faster than average.) And these jobs way well, too: the 2023 median salary of an information security analyst was $120,360.

Other Top-Paying Cybersecurity Jobs

  • Cybersecurity Analyst: $114,306
  • Cybersecurity Manager: $150,943 per year
  • Penetration and Vulnerability Tester: $124,424
  • Cybersecurity Architect: $147,142 per year
  • Cybersecurity Engineer: $131,768
  • Incident and Intrusion Analyst: $103,639
  • Cybersecurity Consultant: $124,275
  • Cyber Crime Analyst: $103,198
The US government employs several professionals trained in the foundations of cybersecurity.
The US government, which employs 11,000 cybersecurity professionals, advertised for 6000 jobs in 2023.

Educate Yourself to Meet the Growing Need for Cybersecurity Professionals.

The estimated loss of that 2017 WannaCry incident was about four billion dollars. That bill was just a drop in the bucket.

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cyber crime is expected to grow by 15% a year in the next three years. What this prediction means is that cyber crime will cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. This figure includes damage and destruction of data, stolen money, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, and other costs.

Professionals with training in the foundations of cybersecurity can not only save organizations a lot of money, then, but even save lives.

Yes lives. When a 2020 ransomware attack on Dusseldorf University Hospital (Germany) caused its IT systems to fail (30 servers!), the hospital could not admit emergency patients. As a result, staff directed a critically ill woman who needed immediate care to another hospital about 20 miles away. This delay in treatment, which contributed to the patient’s death, is often cited as the first death resulting from a cyber attack.

It is obvious that the costs of cybercrime , which are immense, multifaceted, and global, impact economies, organizations, and individuals. Because of these costs, cybersecurity professionals are needed across every sector and industry. But there is a particularly urgent need for them in financial services, health care, government, national security, manufacturing, and retail.

And the growing sophistication of cyber threats and the increasing reliance on digital technologies suggest that these costs will continue to rise, highlighting the crucial demands for both robust cybersecurity measures and the highly skilled and trained professionals to enact them.

Get Started on Your Foundations of Cybersecurity Certificate at MTU.

Public Policy Experts and Students Attend Conference

Us government building, where public policy decisions are made.

Presenting at an Innovative Public Policy Conference

Recently, Dr. Adam Wellstead, director of the Online Public Policy Certificate, two colleagues, and several students attended a valuable policy conference. They participated in the Conference on Policy Process Research (COPPR) 2023: Advancing Policy Process, Theories, and Methods, held in Denver, Colorado.

Representing the Department of Social Sciences were Dr. Adam Wellstead and Dr. Angie Carter. As well, eight students attended virtually or in-person: Esther Acheampong,  Madelina Dilisi, Anne Greub, Kathy Huerta Sanchez, Sidney Mechling, Jason Noe, Caitlyn Sutherlin, and Cassy Tefft de Munoz.

At the conference, Dr. Wellstead delivered research that was a collaboration of one of his inter-university research teams. He, along with Dr. Sojeong Kim (University of California-Davis); and Dr Tanya Heikkila (University of Colorado-Denver), presented their paper, “Policy Learning in Data-Based Policy Innovation Labs.” 

Policy innovation labs are one of Dr. Wellstead’s many research interests. That is, previously, he developed a policy lab at Queen’s University. While there, he and students formed a Policy Innovation Lab that consulted stakeholders and developed solutions for the problem of Queen’s homecoming.

Gaining Public Policy Knowledge and Professional Skills

According to Dr. Wellstead, students enjoyed the experience of the conference and its benefits. For instance, they gained insight into the policy process and its leading researchers. They also had the opportunity to explore new public policy topics as well as gain inspiration for future research projects. Furthermore, they advanced their professionalism skills, which they can apply in both future conferences and their careers.

The conference was an incredible learning experience for me. I was exposed to the leading policy scholars within the field with whom I could interact in a student-friendly environment. It was fascinating to see the different research and practical applications for the various theories and frameworks I’ve learned about in my policy courses at Michigan Tech. There are so many fields that apply and derive value from these theories, from healthcare, politics, and environmental studies.

Madelina Dilisi (Acc MS)

Discussing Public Policy With Dr. Wellstead and Conference Attendees

Are you interested in learning more about cutting-edge public policy? Policy Innovation Labs? Or about the versatile skills offered by Michigan Tech’s Online Public Policy Certificate?

If you are curious about the above topics and more, Dr. Wellstead will be hosting an informal discussion with some of the conference participants in the AOB common area. This discussion will take place this Wednesday (January 25th) at 3:30 pm. All are welcome.   

Graduate School: Is it for You?

View of six doors, ranging in color from blue to green. The fifth half-open door symbolizes the possibilities of grad school.

A Graduate Degree Could Open Up Doors For You

Graduate School: Some Quick Stats

More people than ever are enrolling in graduate degrees. That is true. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a nonprofit and nongovernmental organization, enrollment in graduate programs increased by 3.6% in Fall of 2020. During the Spring 2021 semester, enrollment continued to rise to 4.4%. In fact, this growth far outpaced that predicted by the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES).

Several sources attribute much of this growth to online graduate enrollment, which amped up during the pandemic. In fact, Education and Beyond (EAB) reports that “from 2019 to 2020, enrollment in online graduate programs grew by 63%.” There was also a median increase in the number of students in online programs. Rather than the big online giants getting these gains, smaller universities with respected, accredited online programs created much of this growth. One of the online programs experiencing the most growth was the MBA. And, for the first time ever, in 2020-2021, online MBA students surpassed in-person MBA students.

So more people than ever are enrolling in graduate programs. It is also clear that online master’s degrees are gaining in credibility. We at Global Campus believe in the quality of Michigan Tech’s online graduate programs. But we also recognize that people pursue advanced education for various reasons.

Therefore, we collated a few resources to help you determine if graduate school is right for you.

General Benefits of Graduate Programs

Considering the Pros and Cons: These two articles from US News and the Harvard Business Review (HBR) discuss some of the strongest and weakest reasons for attending graduate school. Although they differ on the drawbacks, both articles agree that an advanced education can diversify your career options and increase your marketability. Career-consulting firm BetterUp also lists six crucial questions you should ask yourself before considering graduate school.

Exploring the Top Reasons:The Top Ten Reasons to Go to Grad School” summarizes common motivations for pursuing master’s degrees. These include investing in your future, getting noticed in the job market, and exploring your passions. This article also stresses how graduate programs help students gain important professional development skills. In fact, several of Michigan Tech’s graduate programs, such as the TechMBA and the Online Manufacturing Certificate, incorporate professional development and leadership skills in their curriculum.

Other Benefits of Advanced Degrees

Motivations differ, but below are a few of the other reasons people pursue advanced degrees.

Acquiring Increased Earnings and Greater Job Stability

Master’s programs obviously differ. Still, the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) has repeatedly shown how graduate degrees may increase your earnings and lower your chances of unemployment. When it comes to engineering, there are other advantages to pursuing advanced degrees in certain fields. For instance, the median annual income for aerospace engineers with a bachelor’s degree is $118,600. This salary rises to $134 to $143k for those with master’s degrees. And this is just one example.

Accessing In-Demand Careers

A graduate degree may allow you to take advantage of career trends. For instance, in its future jobs forecast, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that the need for statisticians will grow by 33% by 2026. (For perspective, the average job growth is about 7%.) Michigan Tech’s Online MS in Applied Statistics is an innovative degree meeting the need for professional, trained statisticians. Similarly, managing and securing the flood of data produced by the healthcare industry has created new employment opportunities. Tech’s MS in Health Informatics can prepare you for a career managing and securing health data and much, much more.

Meeting Employer Needs

Master’s degrees are also becoming necessary for certain in-demand jobs. As early as 2016, Fast Company reported on how employers were pumping up their education requirements for new hires. This trend has continued. According to some estimates, as much as 27% of employers prefer master’s degrees for certain positions.

Gaining Certifications

And then there is the relationship between advanced degrees and certification. The American Society of Civil Engineers offers board certifications (in certain fields). It offers certifications to those who have achieved at least a master’s degree, a P.E. license (or foreign equivalent), and 8 years of post-licensure progressive engineering experience. Michigan Tech’s own College of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering can help you take one of these first steps. That is, the CEGE offers an Online MS with a specialization in Water Resources Engineering. This field is available for board certification.

Graduate School: Let Us Help You Decide

These are just a few reasons and resources that were selected from the internet’s vast sea of information. There might be other factors influencing why you would enroll in graduate certificates or degree programs. And this blog also just skimmed the surface of the versatile online certificates and degrees offered by Michigan Tech.

If you need help choosing an online graduate program, deciding between a graduate certificate or master’s degree, or figuring out the application process, reach out to a representative from the Michigan Tech Graduate School or an expert from Global Campus. We’re here to help you open the door to new interests, educational pathways, and career opportunities.