October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. And Capitol Technology University, home to one of the nation’s first cybersecurity degree programs, is marking the event with a variety of activities and projects – including a student-designed blockchain.
“There’s a lot of excitement about blockchain right now, but not many universities use it or provide students with actual experience,” says professor Rob Campbell, a cryptography specialist with more than 30 years of experience in the defense and intelligence arenas. “Our students are going to build a blockchain and administer it themselves. That way they’ll get to see its strengths, and also some of its weaknesses.”
Blockchain “mitigates many threats, including DDoS (denial of service) attacks, and that’s why there’s so much hype,” Campbell explains. “Getting past all the hype, though, we need to understand how it really works, and how it doesn’t work. That’s what our project aims to do.”
Once set up, the blockchain will be a resource available to the entire university community, Campbell said.
“Everyone at Capitol will be able to use it,” Campbell explains. “We’re looking, ultimately, to expand it to a point where it can be used for records and other information that must be verified and authenticated.”
“We also intend for students to be able to work on the blockchain, adding further enhancements over time.”
In addition to the blockchain project, Capitol will also be holding a series of other activities in conjunction with NCSAM – including a Cyber Saturday event on October 23, as well as a cyber awareness poster competition.
NCSAM is an annual event spearheaded each year by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Cyber Alliance, with the goal of boosting awareness of cybersecurity threats and best practices.
"It’s a time of the year where we draw the nation’s attention to the importance of cybersecurity,” says Dr. William Butler, chair of Captiol’s cybersecurity program and head of the university’s Critical Infrastructures and Cyber Protection Center.
“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,” he said.
Want to learn more about Capitol’s DHS and NSA-recognized cybersecurity programs? Call 1-800-950-1992 for more information or contact Dr. Butler at whbutler(@)captechu.edu