How Cyber and Data Analysts Predict and Protect From Future Cyber Attacks

April 18, 2018

The TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation famously featured a synthetic life form named Data. It was an apt choice of name for a major character in this future-oriented show.

three students looking at screens in Cyber Lab testing critical infrastructure

In our real world today, data – whether in the form of personal information or the numbers used to drive business decisions – has become the central protagonist, one impacting every facet of our lives.

It’s no wonder, then, that cyber breaches are increasingly focused on acquiring data – as opposed to the more old-fashioned, even quaint, goal of skimming revenue or extorting payment. In the Uber breach, disclosed in November 2017, the phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and names of 57 million users were exposed. The Equifax breach compromised millions of social security numbers.

Hospitals are among those being hit the hardest, with their cloud-based storage systems being hacked to steal patient medical records. According to a study published in the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC), hospital data breaches accounted for 30% of all incidents reported to the Health and Human Services department’s Office of Civil Rights, which operates a breach portal.

The good news? While data is a coveted target for hackers, it can also be used to predict and thwart attacks.

Cyber analytics is a rising field that adds descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive tools to the existing methods used by cybersecurity professionals to seal off vulnerabilities. Dr. Mary Margaret Chantré, assistant professor of cyber security and cyber analytics, defines it this way, “Cybersecurity is about the ability to be resilient to attacks and recover quickly. A cyber analyst looks at mistakes made in the past and tries to avoid them in the present so he/she can predict possible future attacks. This type of situational awareness helps minimize risk."

In examining threats, cyber analysts not only use traditional methods of statistical analysis – identifying a normal distribution pattern and then recording signification deviation – but also machine learning and algorithmic-based techniques, such as clustering and density estimation to better understand how to fortify your data.

Capitol Technology University is one of the universities paving the way for cyber analytics. Our programs at the undergraduate and masters levels are among the first in the country, aligning with the university’s pioneering tradition. Capitol, in fact, was one of the first institutions of higher education in the world to offer an academic degree program in cybersecurity, a field which is now high-priority for many schools, colleges, and universities. In 2010, Capitol started the nation’s first doctoral degree program in the field.

Get to know Data. Though the Star Trek series has long now entered reruns, he’s not going away. With a degree in cyber analytics from Capitol, you’ll be prepared to leverage data to take on cyber adversaries as fearsome as any dreamed up by Gene Roddenberry.


Categories: Cybersecurity