In Our November, 2017 Issue:

Protect, defend, respond: Cyber Security and Forensics students on how to combat cyber threats


Why would some­one tar­get me?” Austin Kleineschay, pres­i­dent of the Cyber Secu­rity and Foren­sic Stu­dent Orga­ni­za­tion (CSFSO), said that’s a com­mon ques­tion about cyber­at­tacks. The mes­sage of CSFSO’s annual inter­net secu­rity work­shop: we are all poten­tial tar­gets for hack­ers and cyber criminals.

The “Think Safe, Be Safe,” work­shop focused on secu­rity prob­lems and pos­si­ble solu­tions. It was held Sat­ur­day, Oct. 28, at the Jason R. Carter Sci­ence Edu­ca­tion Cen­ter. Com­mu­nity mem­bers, stu­dents and fac­ulty attended.

Kleineschay opened the event with a dis­cus­sion of cur­rent inter­net secu­rity threats. He chal­lenged every­one to imag­ine what could hap­pen if a cyber crim­i­nal accessed their pho­tos, emails, pass­words, bank accounts and credit card num­bers. Offend­ers might not even be human, as “bots” can find a computer’s secu­rity weak­nesses, Kleineschay said.

Secu­rity bugs will always exist, humans are fal­li­ble,” said Kleineschay. The threat of viruses, worms, Tro­jans, ran­somware and mal­ware per­sist, but there are things com­puter users can do to stay safe.

Besides using fire­walls, Kleineschay sug­gested installing soft­ware updates and secu­rity patches as soon as they become avail­able. He rec­om­mended using Flex­era Per­sonal Soft­ware Inspec­tor. This secu­rity scan­ner iden­ti­fies when an oper­at­ing sys­tem com­po­nent, browser or appli­ca­tion needs an update. It also pro­vides links so a per­son can update their com­puter quickly.

Andrew Schmitt, com­mu­nity fac­ulty mem­ber in Infor­ma­tion and Com­puter Sci­ences (ICS), spoke about iden­tity theft. In his pre­sen­ta­tion, he showed how a sim­ple every­day con­ver­sa­tion can give a crim­i­nal the facts they need to answer someone’s secu­rity ques­tions. Thieves can use another person’s iden­tity to secure mort­gage loans or credit cards. He noted the emo­tional impact, credit rat­ing prob­lems, and the finan­cial loss to vic­tims of iden­tity theft.

Schmitt encour­aged every­one to be aware of instances where their pri­vate infor­ma­tion could be at risk. He rec­om­mended proac­tive approaches to pro­tect­ing your iden­tity. They included using pre­paid cards for online pur­chases, mon­i­tor­ing credit scores and request­ing a credit freeze. He also noted the web­site haveibeen​pwned​.com, cre­ated by Troy Hunt, Aus­tralian web secu­rity expert. The web­site can iden­tify if an email address is asso­ci­ated with a data breach, and whether the person’s credit card num­ber, user­name, pass­word or pass­word hint may be at risk.

Many indi­vid­u­als make the mis­take of using the same pass­word for every appli­ca­tion, Schmitt said. For those that use mul­ti­ple pass­words, it can be dif­fi­cult to remem­ber all of them. A pass­word man­ager does all of this work for a user. It cre­ates a long, unique pass­word for every appli­ca­tion and it requires the user to remem­ber only one pass­word. Last­Pass is one exam­ple of a free or inex­pen­sive pass­word man­ager. Schmitt rec­om­mended this prod­uct for its cloud-​based capabilities.

Stu­dents and alumni also pre­sented at the work­shop. Chris Crayne, a CSFSO mem­ber, pro­vided his top 12 tips for mobile device secu­rity. Com­puter Sci­ence stu­dents Angela Hary and Tsion Mekon­nen dis­cussed secure web brows­ing, and the impor­tant dif­fer­ence between HTTP and HTTPS web addresses.

Panelists discuss their careers in internet security at the ‘Think safe. Be safe’ workshop in the Jason R. Carter Science Education Center on Oct. 28, 2017. CSFSO President Austin Kleineschay and Professor Faisal Kaleem, Information and Computer Sciences, facilitated the discussion.

The threats are many, but so are our ways to pre­vent them,” said Joe Klein, an alum­nus of Metro State alum­nus, in his pre­sen­ta­tion on social engi­neer­ing and phishing.

Atten­dees also were invited to bring their per­sonal devices to the event for free secu­rity check­ups. CSFSO mem­bers pro­vided ser­vices like clean­ing devices of threats and set­ting up pass­word managers.

In addi­tion to their edu­ca­tional events, Cyber Secu­rity and Foren­sics Stu­dent Orga­ni­za­tion mem­bers rep­re­sent Metro State in cyber defense com­pe­ti­tions. They won the 2017 title at the Min­nesota Col­le­giate Cyber Defense Com­pe­ti­tion. In 2016, they were awarded “Stu­dent Orga­ni­za­tion of the Year” at the President’s Stu­dent Lead­er­ship Awards cer­e­mony. For more infor­ma­tion on CSFSO, see orgsync​.com/​106405​/​c​h​apter.