WSU site gathers hacking news

A locally developed web site is providing a one-stop look at each day’s developments in the increasingly relevant world of hacking and computer security.

Wright State University’s Institute of Defense Studies and Education and its Center for Professional Education unveiled in recent days, and as of Monday afternoon last week — well before the site had been publicized — more than 829 users had visited the site.

Those hits hailed from internet protocol addresses from as far away as China, Russia, Ukraine, India — even Redmond, Wash., home to software giant Microsoft.

That kind of early attention bodes well, said Vikram Sethi, the institute’s executive director. He believes there’s a real hunger for news on cyber security and attacks.

To Sethi’s knowledge, this is the only site aggregating news like this under one virtual roof. That’s a challenge because the subject includes “a world of information that is disjointed at best,” he said.

“People are really looking to get a picture of what is happening, what is the trend, what is the news,” Sethi said.

Computer security belongs not just in the realm of spies and counter-terrorism experts. The subject hits home, whether it’s our Twitter account or Target store credit card information, Sethi said.

“We just don’t think about it in terms of what we do or what smaller organizations do,” Sethi said. “We just think it’s somewhere out there.”

The site has the rough-hewn feel of the Drudge Report: Story headlines listed against a plain white background with few ads, photos or graphics.

A recent visit to the site listed stories on food producer Pillsbury starting cyber-security practices, a reporter who mingled with criminals to cover cyber security and the Bank of England being hit with up to eight attacks a week. Another link lists ways in which your computer is vulnerable to attacks.

The subject is increasingly the stuff of daily headlines. Last month, the United States indicted five Chinese military officials it accused of stealing secrets from American companies via cyber-theft. The Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to consider a bill in coming days aimed at encouraging companies to exchange information on hacking attempts.

Kevin Duffy, a WSU associate professor in management information systems, teaches courses in e-business and business technology. Cyber-security is on his radar, and he thinks the problem is only growing.

“You need to pay attention to cyber security because potential breaches to government, to organizational systems, are just coming from everywhere,” Duffy said.

“Hackers are not necessarily interested in only credit card information,” he warned. Hackers can also be interested in corporate strategies, products and much more.

“I do see it as useful,” Duffy said. “What I specifically like about it is, it is a tool for people at all levels of cyber-security.”

According to a recent report from Cisco, there are some 1 million job openings in cyber security.

With that demand in mind, the WSU Institute is offering a trio of online classes leading to a certificate in cyber security. The first class, PSC 790: Foundations of Network Security, is free, Sethi said. The next two classes are offered for $300.

The classes can be taken at home as the student is ready.

“If we can provide information, which is good for cyber- security professionals, but also help individuals develop the credentials in that space, I think we have done a wonderful service,” Sethi said.

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