Defining cybersecurity and the industry’s future

Where students in Gannon’s new program see the cybersecurity field going


Nadya Makay

Cybersecurity is one of the two new majors housed in the I-HACK building. As technology is now used in almost every field and every company, cybersecurity is growing as a field and the demand is increasing, as cybersecurity ensures that interactions on the internet are safe and private.

Anna Malesiewski, Assistant Editor

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing and highest-demand fields in the job market today. It protects and secures digital resources, which are so prevalent in today’s world.

Nearly every company, individual and institution relies on technology on a daily basis, and as a result needs cybersecurity. Cybersecurity ensures that interactions with the internet are conducted with security and privacy.

According to Austin Detzel, a Gannon University sophomore cyber engineering major, this can look different for consumers and companies.

“For the consumer, this means using strong passwords and not sharing sensitive information, making sure that the sites they access are legitimate and reputable, and more,” Detzel said. “For companies, this may include using safe data transfer and storage as well as secured hardware and maintaining strict cyber policies to maintain a secure environment for users.”

Detzel also said that sometimes, there is a misunderstanding as to what cybersecurity actually is. Some think that it is just hacking, but it is so much more.

“Often, there is a big misconception that cybersecurity is just encryption/decryption. There is so much more to it ,including the often dangerous and overlooked social exploitation of a secured system,” Detzel said.

Gino Jordano, a sophomore cybersecurity major, referred to those who work in cybersecurity as “internet cops.” This job is only expanding to meet a growing need.

“Every company has information or a website online,” Jordano said. “It’s going to get to the point where anyone and everyone is going to have something to do with keeping their stuff secured on the internet.”

Adnan Morina, a sophomore cybersecurity major, said that the need for cybersecurity is rapidly increasing due to a widespread use of technology.

“Technology is coming alive more and more every day,” Morina said. “The more we use it, the more prevalent it becomes for our information to get stolen.”

Victoria Bartlett, a sophomore cybersecurity major, said that the need for cybersecurity jobs is also increasing due to the explosion of remote work and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since last spring, there are many more people working from home than ever before, which requires a secure connection to their work resources,” Bartlett said. “The pandemic has changed the way we communicate, and more people are using video chats, which have sometimes struggled with cybersecurity.”

Zoom, for example, has been hard-pressed to increase security in response to “Zoombombers,” or unwanted intruders that infiltrate video calls. Several health care services and companies were also hacked during the pandemic, and individuals’ private health information was released to the public.

Websites have also been created to spread false information about COVID-19, which has caused governments worldwide to take steps to prevent misinformation. The more people and companies rely on the internet and digital services, the more vulnerabilities become present, and therefore the need to mitigate them.

“Right now, our lives revolve around the digital world, and at this point we are reliant on our digitally connected world,” Detzel said. “Cybersecurity is the wall protecting our personal information, money, property, safety and ideas. Our entire lives are embedded in the cyber world.”

Morina agrees that cybersecurity is especially important in present times.

“We need to make sure we take steps to make sure that each piece of technology that we have doesn’t expose us and our information” Morina said.

The field of cybersecurity is also constantly changing as technology does. Technology is continuously adapting to the needs of consumers and developers, so cybersecurity must do the same.

“Most everything you interact with during the day has some relationship to cybersecurity and cyber engineering,” Bartlett said. “Whether it be the coffee you buy from the store, which uses supply chain security, or your car, which has many sensors that need security protocols, any time anyone interacts with the internet or digital devices, security and privacy need to be addressed and protected.”

Morina said that it is imperative that those who work in cybersecurity stay up to date on all of these changes.

“Every day there is something new,” Morina said. “We always have a standard that is going to change on a daily basis or a new protocol that we have to keep up with.”

Jordano agreed that staying on top of these changes is necessary.

“Because we are on the forefront of technology, there are always new things we are finding out or new procedures that can help,” Jordano said.

Everyone can benefit from cybersecurity. Everything from banking to traffic lights is connected to the Internet. According to Bartlett, the safety of all technology users is essential.

“Protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data and resources is crucial to everyone’s present and future lives,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett believes that cybersecurity will continue to boom. It will be on the forefront of the world’s industry, and will only get bigger as time goes on.

“As the world relies on technology more, these fields will grow considerably,” Bartlett said. “Many people have said that they cannot stress the importance of digital security and privacy enough, and it is everyone’s responsibility, whether consumer or developer, to protect and uphold these policies.”

The cybersecurity program at Gannon provides students with many opportunities to gain knowledge in this growing field. The program takes a well-rounded approach and incorporates multiple disciplines.

“The fusion of computer and electrical engineering, computer science, software engineering, and more helps students become versatile and encourages a holistic approach to security,” Bartlett said.

The program also focuses on the acquisition of real-world experience, with the presence of both classrooms and businesses in the new Institute for Health and Cyber Knowledge (I-HACK) building. According to Detzel, this is a valuable asset.

“I think that will present students with unique opportunities in which they can learn while seeing what is going on in the industry and the two can work together to learn more about new technologies and ideas,” Detzel said. “Students would be able to acquire more real-world experience before even graduating and therefore having an edge when applying for jobs afterward..”

The I-HACK building also employs advanced technology to constitute a cutting edge learning experience, according to Bartlett.

“The new I-HACK building provides state-of-the art labs and facilities that are designed specifically for cybersecurity and cyber engineering,” Bartlett said. “Having innovative technology is crucial to understanding these topics and developing skills for the workplace both now and in the future.”

According to Jordano, the I-HACK building provides modern and fresh opportunities for advancement in cybersecurity. He said it is exciting to be part of a new program.

“We’re in a brand new building in a brand new major,” Jordano said. “It’s fun to be the first ones to go through it.”

The I-HACK building dedication will take place 2 p.m. on Friday after over a year of renovation on the building. The dedication will be virtual, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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