Cyberattacks are surging in all categories of the digital sphere and are likely to become more frequent and damaging, says Alexander Perez-Pons, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
With high profile attacks on network management company SolarWinds; the Colonial Pipeline; meat processing company JBS; and software firm Kaseya the urgency for professionals who can counteract, contain and even prevent network breaches has moved to the forefront, highlighting the great need for graduates with a master’s in computer engineering, which focuses on network security and takes just 10 months to complete.
“If you look at the horizon, there will be what looks like an explosion in IoT devices—more devices everywhere recording, monitoring, gathering information,” says Perez-Pons. “These devices make our lives easier, but how can security now not be a major factor?”
When looking at the past 30-plus years of devices and programming, Perez-Pons points out that decades ago, the main push was the functionality and capability of a product. Security for devices was not a main component.
“Consumers assume that companies are doing their due diligence to protect their data with security measures,” cautions Perez-Pons, who admits he does whatever possible to keep his exposure limited.
One common security measure that is taken to limit data exposure is using two-factor identification. Information is a commodity that can be traded even when there are security measures in place—there are privacy concerns today that question how much control you have over your data, he explains. There’s always a possibility that somebody may try to gain access to your devices and this is why two-factor identification is a good thing because it protects the network.
“Minimizing your digital ‘surface’ or exposure is a good way of thinking,” says Perez-Pons, and it starts with cybersecurity that considers network security. “So, if the networks are safe, good communication can take place and anything that is suspicious or could have malicious intent can be identified and stopped before it goes further.”
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