Delta receives recognition for cyber defense education

John McMahon, of Midland, is a student as well as a tutor focused on Delta’s cyber security program. He often comes into networking and cyber security classes to help other students with their lab work. Oct. 15, 2019, University Center. (RJ Murphy/Reporter)

By RJ Murphy, reporter.

UNIVERSITY CENTER – Could you imagine if your bank account got hacked? Yikes! This is why October has been declared National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

With the advancement of technology, computers have become entangled in almost every aspect of our lives. Personal items like phones, cars and houses all have computers in them. When we look out into the community, it’s nearly impossible to run a business without using computers. Schools, hospitals and banks all rely on computers to function.

This fall, Delta has been recognized as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE), a program sponsored by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security for its robust Cyber Security curriculum.

As stated on the NSA’s website, “The goal of the program is to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense and producing professionals with cyber defense expertise.”

Kris Howery, associate professor in computer science and information technology, has been teaching at Delta for almost 12 years. Although he is in charge of the cyber security program, Howery points out that other people were involved and should be credited.

“The acknowledgement deals with the Cyber Security program but is recognizing the college overall so it wasn’t just me,” says Howery. “[Lab technician] Justin Scheidler had a lot to do with it. Karol Syring was the coordinator for everything, and Josh George from the criminal justice program helped a lot.”

In order to qualify as a CAE, the college must meet strict requirements. Assignments, labs and other course materials must be submitted to the NSA in order to prove that all of the material is actually being covered.

In November, Howery will travel to Arizona to formally receive the designation.

“At the conference I hope to learn more about what grants are available to college students,” says Howery

Delta has also received a $25,000 grant from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation to use in support of the cyber security program. The college has placed an order for solid state hard drives to install on the NDG appliance server that hosts the virtual machines students use for their labs.

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