BY AMANDA ALLER
Gaming systems, banks, government offices and campus communities large and small have fallen victim to hack attacks over the last few months and here at the County College of Morris, there is a group looking to do something about it.
A special body of students at CCM are well aware of the fatal outcome that cyber crime can have on the global economy and they are known as the Cyber Centurions. The goal of the Cyber Security Club is to reduce vulnerability in our national information framework by producing professionals with cyber defense expertise. First chartered as a club only one year ago, they’ve managed to make a difference through rigorous research, awareness and participation in competitions like the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (MACCDC). Last year was the first time CCM participated in the MACCDC, not to mention they were the first New Jersey college to do so.
Not only did they break that record, they also became the first team to ever proceed to finals upon their first appearance.
Mihir Kansagra, the public relations officer for Cyber Security, said that many opportunities would open up if his team won the MACCDC.
“There have been cases before where students were offered job with federal agencies that people only dream of,” Kansagra said. “It was without interview or application process. If we win the competition, we would definitely get hired by any company in the United States.”
The Cyber Security Club started out with only ten members and has accumulated over 60 members since its humble beginnings. October is Cyber Safety awareness month which is easily the most important month of the year for the Cyber Security club. This year they ran various seminars on topics like cyber safety and Identity Theft prevention. On Data Privacy Day, Thursday, Jan. 28, the club held a seminar during college hour which was overflowing with faculty and students, not to mention John Tugman, the head of Information Technology (IT) for Morris County.
After the presentation on Data Privacy Day, Tugman asked the Cyber Security Club to hold two more seminars in March, at Morris County Public Safety Academy in Morris Plains where staff of John Tugman, students of Public Safety Academy and other members of Morris County, as well as general public will be attending the seminar. They plan to spread awareness by going to various high schools, middle schools, libraries and more events in Morris County.
The Cyber Centurions will be competing alongside 290 other students for an opportunity to be one of ten teams to move up to the regional finals and compete in the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.
This is one of very few competitions that give insight into how Corporate Information Security works, while being backed by major corporations and institutions like Homeland Security, the NSA, and Microsoft.
Andrea Doucette, a freshman at CCM, said that although she is new to the team, she is learning quickly.
“Preparing for the upcoming qualifiers has expanded my knowledge tremendously,” Doucette said. “With very little Cyber Security skills, the past two months have opened my eyes to the precautions that must be taken. I’m confident that we’re ready to take on any challenges that the competition will bring.”
The regional finals are open for the public to attend and will be held at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland, in March. The winner of the MACCDC will represent the region at Nationals in San Antonio, Texas, in April.