Posted by raherschbach on 13 Oct 2016

The cybersecurity program at Capitol Technology University is one of the nation’s first – and this month it’s celebrating its fifteenth anniversary.

In 1999, in response to growing student interest, the university began developing a master’s degree program in a field then referred to as “network security.” The new program was unveiled in 2001, following approval by the university’s accreditors.

At the time, cybersecurity was available at most colleges and universities only as an elective concentration, typically as part of a business management or computer science department. Capitol was the first school that responded to student demand by offering a degree program.

The college also innovated by offering the program entirely online – at a time when graduate education was still largely reliant on the traditional classroom model. Today, Capitol also offers an online doctorate in cybersecurity as well as a certificate program and an on-campus bachelor’s degree.

For Dave Ward, one of the original architects of cybersecurity at Capitol, the fifteen-year milestone is “wonderful” and a time to take stock of the rapid changes that continue to shape the field.

“When we started the program, we really didn’t know where this was going,” Ward says. “We had a very good idea concerning specific pieces that had to be addressed. But the rationale for putting together an entire degree program was not obvious.”

Ward himself was skeptical. “I saw cybersecurity primarily as a network issue and as an engineering issue. I wasn’t anticipating the kinds of criminal chicanery that we see today – from malware to social engineering.”

At the time, Capitol offered a single course in network security as part of its master’s program in internet architecture. “Students kept telling us they wanted more,” remembers Rob Ashworth, who developed the curriculum of the new degree program together with Ward and another professor, Charles Cayot.

Fast forward to 2016, and not only have cybersecurity threats burgeoned and become more sophisticated, but they also have the potential to impact health, safety and well-being as never before. In today’s “Internet of Things,” everything from the kitchen fridge to the family minivan is a potential attack surface. That translates into a critical need for cybersecurity expertise – and for programs, like Capitol’s, which focus on practical training conducted by professionals who work in the field.

”We’re no longer primarily up against ‘script kiddies” or other amateurs who see hacking mainly as a challenge or sport,” Ward says. “What we have now is organized crime bent on stealing or extorting very large amounts of money, as well as trying to steal intellectual property. We also have government-sponsored attacks conducted in Cold War-style, as a way to damage an adversary without direct military action.”

Meanwhile, Ward notes, the rise of the “Dark Web” has provided a venue for the illicit activities of a wide range of criminals, from drug dealers to human traffickers.

Compared to fifteen years ago, a cybersecurity program is no longer a rarity. Capitol has numerous competitors. But while many take a more academic approach, Capitol’s program remains keenly focused on the practical application of learning.

Professors continue to be recruited from among the best and brightest in the military, government and private arenas, and the curriculum is continually updated to reflect their insights and experience.

 “This program was built up over time by subject matter experts,” notes fellow professor Cayot. “One of our real strong points has been that the instructors are extremely knowledgeable about the material and can relate to the students from the workplace, in addition to teaching them the latest published solutions.”

Commemorating the fifteen-year anniversary, the cybersecurity program will be holding a special event on November 14, featuring current faculty members as well as Ward and others involved in the program’s inception. For more information, contact Joy Exner at


Posted by raherschbach on 11 Oct 2016

As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, an annual initiative designed to promote awareness of the need to protect networks and digital assets, Capitol is holding a poster contest for students. All Capitol Technology University students are eligible to enter the contest, which features a monetary prize for the best poster. 

Each poster  must feature original student artwork and illustrate the safe use of the internet and/or mobile devices, focusing on one of the following concepts:

  • Cyber Security
  • Cyber Bullying
  • Cyber Community Citizenship (Cyber Ethics)
  • Malicious Code (worms and viruses)
  • Inappropriate texting 

Posters will be prominently displayed for one full year (October 2016 to October 2017) and a monetary prize will be awarded.

  • Submit all posters by October 21
  • Judging will be on Cyber Saturday October 22
  • Winner will be announced on October 28. Prize given out shortly after.


Please e-mail all completed  posters and questions to Dr. William Butler:

To find out about other NCSAM activities at Capitol, click here.


Posted by raherschbach on 10 Oct 2016

A dedicated group of Capitol students recently spent their Friday night battling cyber threats during a 24-hour lock-in at the university’s Cyber Lab, held in conjunction with MITRE Cyber Academy’s sixth national Capture the Flag (CTF) competition.

Team members faced off against students from colleges and universities across the country, tackling such challenges as binary exploitation and reversing, web exploitation, computer/network forensics, cryptography, and critical infrastructure protection.

When the event finished at 5 pm on Saturday (September 17), Capitol’s team had racked up an impressive 1,910 points, placing in 7th place out of 46 schools in the college division.

It was an exciting result for a team that consists largely of freshmen and sophomores, many of whom are new to the world of cyber competitions. According to Cyber Lab manager Yesihake Abraha, who led the effort, their success had a lot to do with the degree of collaboration.

“The reason we did well is that we had a lot of people coming together and collaborating, not just working separately,” Abraha said. “The CTF can be done individually or in a group environment. We wanted students to come in and see what we could find out by working together.”

The event allowed more experienced students to mentor their younger counterparts, helping them build their confidence as they gained practice in handling an environment of intense competition.

“A lot of people get scared by CTFs,” Abraha explained. “They don’t think they’re smart enough to do it or they don’t think they have what it takes. Bringing everyone here really helped with the morale. Students loved coming here -- they met new people and figured out how to do these challenges. We were all enjoying ourselves, having fun.”

Beyond the MITRE event, the longer-term plan is for Capitol’s cyber team to participate in several competitions over the year, culminating in the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (MACCDC).

“We wanted students to come in and participate in the MITRE challenge so they will be prepared for the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (MACCDC) later in the school year,” Abraha said. “We’re planning on having more events like this in the future.”



Posted by raherschbach on 28 Sep 2016

Capitol Technology University will be hosting a series of events and activities during October in conjunction with National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), an initiative designed to raise awareness of the ongoing need to protect computer networks and systems from breaches and intrusions.

The calendar for the month includes a contest for student-designed posters, a visit to campus by the university’s National Security Agency representative, and a Cyber Saturday event featuring speakers as well as activities for parents and students.

NCSAM this year coincides with a milestone at Capitol: the school’s flagship cybersecurity program is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary. The occasion will be commemorated during a special event on October 30.

“NCSAM is an annual even that was started by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS),” explains Dr. William Butler, chair of the cybersecurity program at Capitol and head of the Critical Infrastructures and Cyber Protection Center. "It’s a time of the year where we draw the nation’s attention to the importance of cybersecurity.”

“During the month, the DHS as well as other agencies and organizations involved in cybersecurity provide advice to the average computer user on how people can better protect themselves against different varieties of cybercrime, including ransomware, infected e-mails, malware, social engineering and identity theft,” Butler said.

This year, NCSAM happens to coincide with a special milestone at Capitol. In October, the university is celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of the launch of its cybersecurity program, with a commemorative event scheduled for October 30.

“Fifteen years ago, Capitol decided to start the nation’s first master’s degree in network security,” Butler said. “Not only was it the nation’s first, but it was offered entirely online – which was an innovation as well. It represented a technological advancement in education as well as a new academic field.”

Cybersecurity programs have since proliferated across the nation – but Capitol continues to draw talented cyberwarriors-in-training each year to study with expert professionals in the university’s highly practice-oriented program. Butler says he’s counting on Capitol’s “very creative students” to devise ways of promoting cybersecurity awareness through the poster contest planned to run  through the month. Details will be forthcoming on the university portal.

Also in conjunction with NCSAM, mark your calendars for an October 6 visit by the NSA’s education representative, while on October 22 the Cyber Lab will host the next installment in the university’s ongoing Cyber Saturday program. For details on any of the planned activities, contact the CICPC or e-mail whbutler {at} .




Posted by raherschbach on 20 Sep 2016

Capitol Technology University will hold its inaugural Career Conference on Tuesday (September 27), combining a job fair and a series of workshops designed to help prepare students for various aspects of the job search. Attendance is mandatory for students in order to be eligible for Capitol’s job guarantee.

Sign-in is from 9:30 to 10:00 am. During the morning, you’ll attend workshops on such topics as:

  • Your four-year plan
  • Security clearances
  • The difference between Contracting, Consulting and Federal Service
  • Do you Need a Certification?
  • Highlighting your Accomplishments
  • Technical Interview Questions
  • How to Stand Out in Business
  • Employers represented at the job fair include:

 The Job Fair part of the event starts at 1 pm for juniors and seniors, and 2 pm for freshmen and sophomores. Professional attire is required. At the Fair, you’ll have the opportunity to meet representatives from companies such as Adnet Systems, Alertus Technologies, ICF International, The Mil Corporation, Motorola, Naval Intelligence Activity, Pepco, and Verizon.

All participants will receive a lunch pass during sign-in, along with raffle tickets for a chance to win gift cards and other prizes during the day.

Resume reviews

Prior to the Career Conference, the Office of Career Services will be providing resume reviews. No appointment is required; just walk in during the scheduled time windows (below). Bring a printed copy of your resume.  Two sessions will be held on campus, and one will be conducted virtually via the distance learning platform.

Resume Review Open Walk-in Hours

September 20 2pm-4pm in Student Life Suite
September 22 4pm-6pm online at
September 23 1pm-4pm in Library “Last Chance” Review

Tower Bus Schedule