Coleman Spends Career Day at Wegeforth Elementary

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On May 23, 2018 Coleman University had the honor of being invited to speak for Career Day at Wegeforth Elementary in San Diego, California. We sent two of our students, Gilberto and Marilyn, to talk to their students about technology and share with them the steps they can take to become Video Game Designers and Cybersecurity Experts. By sharing their own experiences and dreams for the future, our speakers were able to show students how they could follow their own dreams into a career in technology. Many of the kids had questions about what it means to be safe online, and how to report cyber bullying, as well what it takes to make a video game. This is the third year that we have attended Career Day, and each year participants come back feeling excited to see how much technology can excite the next generation of programmers, developers, designers, and security experts. Thank you to Gilberto and Marilyn for being such great teachers and showing kids how they can turn their Dreams Into Reality!

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What You Need to Know for World Password Day

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World Password Day steps to security

For a strong password follow these steps to be more secure online..

Every year, the first Thursday of May is acknowledged as World Password Day, which is a day to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining high security standards online. This year the first Thursday is May 3rd. With all of the various social media platforms, mailing lists, and online shopping available, many online users have become accustomed to using the same set of passwords for their accounts. That practice is dangerous, and can lead to even more security issues in the future. For World Password Day we have compiled a list of the top 5 best practices for creating a strong digital password.

This list was compiled by Thom Byrne, who is the Faculty Chair for the Cybersecurity program at Coleman. If you want to learn more about Mr. Byrne and his program, read his Faculty Spotlight Interview.

 

The Top 5 Ways to Create a Secure Password

1. Secure passwords are NOT short passwords. Be sure to use a sequence that is more complex than a street name, or the name of your pets. We recommend a length of at least 15 characters, if possible.

2. Avoid using the same passwords for multiple accounts. Though it is easier to remember a select few passwords, they will also make you an easier target for cybercriminals. In addition, it’s better not to use whole words or phrases that are easily recognizable.

3. Download a password manager (such as LastPass), which will help you keep track of your information, while also generating complex passwords for you to use.

4. Use a site authenticator (Microsoft Authenticator, Google, YubiKey, Authy, etc.) that can be used on sites that support Two Factor Authentication (2FA), which will generate a time based six digit 30 second code to provide 2FA.

5. If you don’t want to use a password manager you can use the following techniques instead:

  • Make it long, but memorable. You can use a series of punctuation marks instead of random numbers or letters. For example, use “Dog………….37” which will only require you to remember the number of periods instead of a complex sequence.
  • Create a visual que that you can use to remember the password sequence. This technique takes at least four unrelated words and a separator character of your choosing to create a secure sequence. For example, the password “Mars;Frog;Valley;42” is 19 characters long. So you can visualize a frog on Mars in a valley with 42 on its side, or any other visual using that specific signifier. The separating character in this example is a semi-colon, but you can choose any that you prefer.

It is important to be as proactive as possible online when it comes to protecting your information. For World Password Day take a moment to think about all of the passwords that you are currently using, or need to remember, and determine if they meet the necessary requirements for proper security. If not, use these tips to help you create a more secure password and use them to create better passwords in the future. If you would like to know more about staying safe online, you can read our blog about email phishing here.

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Cybersecurity in History: The Elk Cloner Virus

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In 2017, Cybersecurity Ventures predicted that by 2019 a business will become the target of a ransomware attack every 14 seconds. The average budget for cybersecurity measures is expected to exceed $1 Trillion by 2021, and the number of open jobs for cybersecurity experts is fast outgrowing the number of available applicants (CSO Online). It seems that “cybersecurity” is a hot button topic today, but where did this trend start? Where did the first computer virus come from? In late January of 1982, a 15 year-old programmer named Richard Skrenta inadvertently created the first computer virus (outside of a lab) that spread through infected floppy discs “in the wild”. Ironically it was written as a joke!

The first computers, such as the ENIAC, were built at the beginning of the 20th century and were used mostly for computing large sums and for breaking codes during war time. These behemoth machines took up entire floors of buildings and required constant monitoring and maintenance. Over time these computers become smaller, faster, and more efficient, but they were still individual machines that worked towards a specific computing purpose. With the birth of the modern age of computing and the home computer system, programmers could begin experimenting with their own code and testing the limits of these inventions. Using his personal Apple II computer, Richard Skrenta began creating a boot sector virus to infect floppy discs and spread itself to any Apple II computer that booted up using the infected floppy disc by putting the virus into the computer’s memory. His virus would become the first in history to spread “in the wild” and exist outside of a computer laboratory; meaning that any floppy discs that were inserted into an infected computer, were immediately infected and could then pass the virus on to another system. The virus was essentially harmless and was intended to annoy its victims more than attack them. Elk Cloner was designed so that once the Apple II computer had been booted up 50 times after being infected, a poem would display on the screen:

Elk Cloner:

The program with a personality

It will get on all your disks

It will infiltrate your chips

Yes it’s Cloner!

It will stick to you like glue

It will modify ram too

Send in the Cloner!

Once computer developers began installing hard drives into computers instead of relying on floppy discs for memory, this type of virus was no longer effective. Today the threat of digital security is greater than an infected floppy disc that only affects the device you have in your home, and it can be much more detrimental to your system than an unwanted poem on your screen. In a report by ISACA it was projected that over the next 2-4 years there will be an estimated skills gap of almost 2 million in the field of Cybersecurity. The Cybersecurity industry is seeing a sharp spike in hacking attempts and recent scandals, such as the Equifax data breach in 2017, have shown that the cybersecurity needs of major corporations are not being met. Imagine what opportunities are waiting for you with a degree in Cybersecurity!  On average, a Cybersecurity professional will have a yearly salary of $116,000, almost double the national median income reported for 2016! If you have a passion for online safety and love a challenge, think of a degree in Cybersecurity as a part of your future and call us at (858) 499-0202!

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