Computer Science Department: Raising Cyber Security Awareness

cybersecuritySpam letters alerting that a bank account password needs to be changed or letters from a foreigner seeking money. Hackers taking down the New York Times web site or viruses that infect whole networks. These kinds of activities can have a major impact on a society dependent on technology.

During October, which is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, students and staff from the Computer Science Department at California State University, Dominguez Hills are hosting their Second Annual Security Awareness Week Open House. Begun Friday, Oct. 18 and continuing through Saturday, Oct. 26, most events will take place on the fifth floor of the original wing of the University Library in room 5717.

Designed to promote increased awareness of the importance of cyber security, how it affects everyone and how to learn safe online strategies, the weeklong series of talks and workshops also is intended to showcase the computer science department and its growing degree programs, specifically the computer technology homeland security tract, in which students learn to prevent, detect and respond to vulnerabilities within a computer network.

Department chair Moshen Behesti said that events like the open house—and the students’ involvement in Western Regional Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, which they placed third in 2012—only enhance the department’s stature in the computer science communities and support efforts for the university to be designated by the National Security Agency as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense. Such designation will greatly benefit students in the form of scholarships, resources and other opportunities.

Computer science students and faculty from a number of local community colleges and universities will be visiting campus to take part in the Security Awareness Week Open House. However Beheshti emphasized that the week is really for everyone.

“The purpose is to provide awareness to all students, faculty members, staff members here at CSUDH and our community,” he said.

Each day’s activities are centered on a specific theme. For instance, on Wednesday, Oct. 23, mobile devices will be the focus, with workshops on protecting portable devices, and defending cell phones and other handheld devices against attack. Thursday, Oct. 23, will cover more general information such as guidelines for publishing information online, protecting your privacy and understanding encryption, and browsing safely.

For more information on the computer science department, visit csc.csudh.edu.