Cyber Operations – The Citadel Today https://today.citadel.edu Fri, 29 Oct 2021 13:21:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.4 https://today.citadel.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Citadel-Favion-new-150x150.png Cyber Operations – The Citadel Today https://today.citadel.edu 32 32 144096890 New CyberCorps Scholarship for Services cadets announced https://today.citadel.edu/new-cybercorps-scholarship-for-services-cadets-announced/ Thu, 28 Oct 2021 17:33:33 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=28136 The Citadel Cybercorps Scholarships for Service 20221-22 cohortThe Citadel Cybercorps Scholarships for Service 20221-22 cohortIt provides scholarships for undergraduate students who will pursue employment with a government entity after graduation.]]> The Citadel Cybercorps Scholarships for Service 20221-22 cohortThe Citadel Cybercorps Scholarships for Service 20221-22 cohort

Photo above: Clockwise – Cadets Annabelle Miller, Khalil Al-Nakhala, Nathanael Ling, Nathanael King and Noah Wells.

There are five new cadets studying this fall at The Citadel with CyberCorps Scholarships for Service support.

They are:

  • Khalil Al-Nakhala
    Hometown: Hingham, Massachusetts
    Areas of study: Intelligence and Security Studies with Cybersecurity minor
  • Nathanael King
    Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina
    Areas of study: Computer Science and Cyber Operations double-major
  • Nathanael Ling
    Hometown: Mebane, North Carolina
    Areas of study: Computer Science and Cyber Operations double-major
  • Annabelle Miller
    Hometown: Wilmington, Delaware
    Areas of study: Intelligence and Security Studies major with Cybersecurity minor
  • Noah Wells
    Hometown: Columbia, South Carolina
    Areas of study: Computer Science, Mathematics and Cyber Operations triple-major

The program is designed to recruit and train cybersecurity professionals to meet the needs of federal, state, local and tribal government organizations. It provides scholarships for undergraduate students who will pursue employment with a government entity after graduation.

Members of the first cohort of cadets initially selected for the kick off of the program in 2020, Andrew Lindenmeyer, Shiloh Smiles, Philip Quinn and Ashley Ruiz will graduate in 2022 or 2023, and are already working with cybersecurity professionals through internships and mentorships. Lidenmeyer, for example, is a Computer Science and Cyber Operations double-major who has already interned with the National Security Agency and the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic, where he will work fulltime after graduating in 2023 while pursing a master’s degree, which he expects to complete in one year. Ruiz, an Honors Program student majoring in Intelligence and Security Studies and Political Science with a minor in Cybersecurity, has completed internships with the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of State and the National Security Agency.

The Citadel was awarded a $2.8 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant in 2020 to create South Carolina’s first CyberCorps Scholarships for Service program.

Summary of cybersecurity programs, scholarships, designations and events at The Citadel

Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship (DoD CySP)
These scholarships, supported through the Department of Defense, are designed to encourage the recruitment of the nation’s top cyber talent to help secure America against threats. Currently The Citadel has seven DoD CySP Scholars (six Cadets and one graduate student).

The Citadel Department of Defense Cyber Institute (CDCI)
The CDCI mission is to ensure the delivery of principled leaders who are experts in cybersecurity and have the skillset and experience required to begin working for the U.S. Department of Defense as soon as they earn their degrees.

The Citadel CyberCorps Scholarships for Service program
See the article above or read more about the program here.

Cybersecurity/Intelligence Scholars
An innovative program for gifted students who have a strong interest in cybersecurity and national security affairs.

National Center of Excellence in Cyber Defense
The Citadel was recently re-designated a National Center of Excellence in Cyber Defense through 2028 by the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency,

Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) Citadel chapter
There is a new Citadel chapter of the national WiCyS organization. Recently, travel grants were provided for 10 cadets and students to travel to the national conference.

Degrees in cybersecurity and operations
One of the colleges most popular undergraduate majors is Cyber Operations. Graduates will be able to:

  1. Apply security principles and practices to the design and implementation of the physical, software and human component of the cyber systems
  2. Analyze and evaluate cyber systems with respect to security
  3. Identify, analyze and mitigate threats in the cyber system

Other related academic programs, including a master’s degree and graduate level certificate can be viewed here.

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Cyber experts weigh in after Georgetown County ransomware attack https://today.citadel.edu/cyber-experts-weigh-in-after-georgetown-county-ransomware-attack/ Wed, 24 Mar 2021 15:40:34 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=22915 screen shot of Prof. Cory Nance from Live 5 reportscreen shot of Prof. Cory Nance from Live 5 reportDr. Nance works at The Citadel training the next generation of “cyber soldiers” who will fight against hackers, he said.]]> screen shot of Prof. Cory Nance from Live 5 reportscreen shot of Prof. Cory Nance from Live 5 report

As seen on WCSC-TV Live 5
By Carter Coyle

Watch the video version of this report on www.Live5news.com here.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – The last year many have learned how to increase personal hygiene through proper hand washing, wearing masks and using hand sanitizer. Just like that physical protection, security experts say we must be diligent about “cyber hygiene.”

It’s estimated that globally there’s one ransomware attack on a business every 11 seconds,” Cyber Security Professor Dr. Cory Nance said. “Most of them are cyber criminals- financially motivated.”

Dr. Nance works at The Citadel training the next generation of “cyber soldiers” who will fight against hackers, he said. The Citadel has several educational paths for cadets wanting to specialize in computer sciences. Dr. Nance said the industry has negative unemployment rate as the need for cyber experts increases.

He said the bad actors are constantly developing new malware including ransomware to attack individuals, businesses and governments in a form of digital warfare.

Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that “global ransomware damage costs will reach $20 billion by 2021.”

“This is a tough problem and certainly not going away anytime soon. The attacks are just becoming more and more sophisticated with more psychological pressure being put on these organizations to want to pay that ransom,” Dr. Nance said.

That’s exactly what happened seven weeks ago in Georgetown County. https://4230f556a36ace6ba15014901dbf3f6d.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Public Information Officer Jackie Broach said that just like hurricane or tornado, a cyber disaster hit the county on January 22 in the form of a ransomware attack.

“It really shut everything down from Wi-Fi to email,” Broach said. “We couldn’t access files on our network. It really did just bring us to a grinding halt. The only thing that still worked was our phones cell phones and desk phones.”

Ransomware basically locks up and encrypts a computer system and files, and then hackers demand money for the decryption key.

The Georgetown County attack is still under investigation so Broach said she couldn’t divulge the amount of the ransom.

“But it was a large amount in cryptocurrency, which I think is standard,” she said.

Instead of paying the ransom, the county’s IT department has been rebuilding, upgrading and fixing every computer and at least 50 servers.

“The county’s IT Department has done what normally would take six or seven months of work in the last five weeks,” Broach explained. “They are just trying to work around the clock as quickly as possible to get things back up and running and basically rebuilt from scratch.”

Thankfully, Broach said, Georgetown County does have cyber insurance.

The more than $250,000 dollars in expenses because of the attack will only cost them a $10,000 deductible.

She said citizen information was not exposed or accessed, and that “files are still there, files are still fine,” they just couldn’t open them because of the ransomware.

Even if they’d wanted to pay the ransom to speed things along, Broach said there’s no guarantee the hackers would have followed through with their end of the bargain.

“In a perfect world, no one would pay the ransom,” Bruce Smalley said.

Smalley is the Chief Information and Risk Officer with the State Law Enforcement Division. Whether to pay up depends on the entity’s resources and backup options, he explained.

“Without backup capabilities, many organizations unfortunately are left with no choice but to pay the ransom.” And such a cycle only encourages the lucrative attacks to continue.

Smalley and his team at SLED are working to make sure hackers don’t make it that far. He leads the Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Program, a taskforce of cybersecurity experts in South Carolina.

“You may not think of South Carolina as a cyber security hub,” he said. But Smalley said their program has been touted as one of the best in the country. “The reality is most states do not have a program that can match the capabilities of South Carolina. In fact, the national Governor’s Association said South Carolina has the most comprehensive and innovative Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity in the country.”

One goal of SC CIC is to train state agencies and governments to prevent cyber-attacks. They also act on intel and leads to stop them ahead of time.

SC CIC will also investigate when malware attacks do get through, like in Georgetown County. Broach said SLED is investigating in that case to help them find out more about the hackers and origin of the attack.

“It really just boils down to protecting the citizens of South Carolina,” Smalley said, adding that SC CIC operates on an $800,000 annual budget.

“We were able to save the taxpayers of South Carolina close to $15 million in cyber and cyber-related expenses…That’s a pretty great return on investment,” Smalley said.

The City of Charleston recently signed on to that free partnership with SC CIC.

He said the city’s layers of security have thwarted many attempted attacks. “They do happen constantly all day. Emails are trying to come in. Our system filters emails before they even come in. They may be laced with malware or ransomware.”

Ratterree said with SLED’s help, the city recently sent a test email to employees trying to collect information like a hacker would to gauge where security weaknesses are. His team also reached out to Georgetown County after their hacking incident.

“It’s a learning tool at their expense unfortunately. But we always investigate those scenarios, especially if they’re close to home,” Ratterree said.

We asked dozens of local municipalities if they’ve ever had attempted or successful cyber-attacks. While they were hesitant to release details for security reasons, some cities and counties told us they have multiple layers of cyber security. Others have cyber insurance to protect them in case of an incident.

Ratterree said a system is most vulnerable with its end users, the every day employees in the system who just checking their emails and doing their jobs, not necessarily thinking about cyber security attacks day to day.

That seems to be the case in Georgetown County, Broach said. “I think it’s fair to say it’s nobody’s fault. It came in via an email to a staff member like a phishing email. It was not one of those “crown prince so and so.” It was very sophisticated.”

Cyber-attacks do not just put a citizen’s personal or financial information at stake. They could also have life or death consequences if successful.

A hacker got into a Florida city’s water treatment system earlier this month and tried to poison the water supply with lye.

A future hack into our power grid could be devastating, Dr. Nance said.

“As we’ve seen recently in Texas – even though that wasn’t an attack – you see what happens when the power goes out. And if a bad actor can make the power go out like that in the winter, that can have huge ramifications for the people.”

Georgetown County Human Resources Director Walt Ackerman answered questions from Georgetown County’s Council during last week’s meeting.

“Insurance will get us back to where we were, but now we are a target. We’ve had several attempts at breaches since we were attacked, so if we don’t put additional protections in place, we’re just going to be in the same boat again,” he said.

The Council approved $140,000 to implement equipment upgrades now that they had planned for the next couple of years. The experts we talked to say more communities should consider such cyber investments now to prevent disasters in the future.

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Future federal cyber warriors selected for Citadel’s CyberCorps program https://today.citadel.edu/future-federal-cyber-warriors-selected-for-citadels-cybercorps-program/ https://today.citadel.edu/future-federal-cyber-warriors-selected-for-citadels-cybercorps-program/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2020 14:35:39 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=16822 Citadel_Cyber_SecurityCitadel_Cyber_SecurityFirst S.C. CyberCorps Scholarship for Service cadets selected to begin program this fall Four cadets at The Citadel will complete their junior and senior years as South Carolina’s first CyberCorps®]]> Citadel_Cyber_SecurityCitadel_Cyber_Security

First S.C. CyberCorps Scholarship for Service cadets selected to begin program this fall

Four cadets at The Citadel will complete their junior and senior years as South Carolina’s first CyberCorps® scholars. Cadets Andrew Lindenmeyer, Shiloh Smiles, Philip Quinn and Ashley Ruiz were selected as the college’s first participants in The Citadel’s CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service program.

“Being selected means that I will have a chance to apply my knowledge and passion for computer science and cybersecurity to a cause bigger than myself— national defense,” said Cadet Shiloh Smiles Smiles of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, upon learning she was selected. “I am honored and excited to be a part of the first cohort of this new program.”

Earlier this year, The Citadel was awarded a $2.8 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant – the largest federal grant in the college’s history – to create the state’s first CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service program. It is intended to educate the next generation principled leaders who will protect America in cyberspace.

“These cadets were selected for their professionalism and commitment to the field of cybersecurity, as well as their passion to serve our nation,” said Shankar Banik, Ph.D., professor and head of the Department of Cyber and Computer Sciences and the principal investigator for The Citadel’s CyberCorps® project.

The program is designed to recruit and train cybersecurity professionals to meet the needs of federal, state, local, and tribal government organizations. The program provides scholarships for undergraduate students pursuing a major in Computer Science, Intelligence and Security Studies, or Criminal Justice with a minor in Cybersecurity. Scholarship recipients will then pursue employment with a government entity in a cybersecurity-related position.

“This grant is a recognition of The Citadel’s uniqueness where principled leadership education is blended with multi-disciplinary Cybersecurity education. The CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service program at The Citadel will provide a steady supply of leaders for the government over the next several years, “said Banik. “A broader impact of the project includes the ability to recruit more diverse populations, women, and underrepresented groups to The Citadel and to cybersecurity professions.”

Banik will be assisted by an interdisciplinary team of professors representing the Department of Cyber and Computer Sciences, Department of Intelligence and Security Studies, Department of Criminal Justice and The Citadel STEM Center of Excellence.

While at The Citadel, the CyberCorps® scholars will receive or participate in:

  • Full tuition scholarship for junior and senior years.
  • An annual stipend (for living expenses): $25,000 per year.
  • A professional allowance of up to $6,000 per academic year to attend the Scholarship for Service Job Fair, and fund other travel, books, or professional activities.
  • Mentorship and extracurricular activities to prepare them for cyber-related opportunities in federal, state, or tribal organizations.
  • Learning from cyber operations professionals in South Carolina in places such as the Naval Information Warfare Center (Atlantic) is located.

In turn, the cadets agree to:

  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress as determined by the CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service program.
  • Work in an executive federal agency post-graduation for the number of years of the scholarship award.
  • Complete one summer internship for at least 10 weeks, typically paid, with a government organization during the scholarship period.
  • Participate in the annual CyberCorps Job Fair, where they will engage with government recruiters.
  • Participate in cyber-related research and professional-development events, competitions and outreach activities.

New Bachelor of Science in Cyber Operations begins this fall

For the past decade, The Citadel has invested in advancing cyber security education through new programs, a dedicated cyber center, and professional partnerships. As a result, The Citadel is designated as a National Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security and has earned numerous awards.

The Citadel is also part of a collaboration that resulted in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that provides $10 million in federal funding to create U.S. Department of Defense cyber institutes at the six Senior Military Colleges in the U.S. In addition, plans are drafted to install a sensitive compartmented information facility or SCIF on campus in the next several years.

In the fall, The Citadel launches its first Bachelor of Science in Cyber Operations. Previously, students could only minor in Cyber Security while majoring in Computer Science, Intelligence and Security Studies, or Criminal Justice.

“For some, combining cyber security with another major is still a good idea. But now, a fully dedicated major in Cyber Operations will allow cadets to focus more heavily on developing cyber defense skills,” said Banik. “The state and the nation need a highly educated cyber workforce to protect our interests in this burgeoning theater of cyber warfare.”

For more information about the Bachelor of Science in Cyber Operations, or about being considered for The Citadel’s CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service program, please contact Dr. Shankar Banik at baniks1@citadel.edu.

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