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Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 13 Jan 2017

By Dr. William Butler, Chair, Cybersecurity Program, Capitol Technology University

The cybersecurity field has been in the spotlight over past months as never before. If anyone was in doubt about its significance nationally and internationally, across a wide array of arenas, those doubts should have been firmly laid to rest.

Hacking and cyberespionage became a hot-button issue in the US presidential election, yielding a swarm of allegations that continue to be investigated. In 2016, it was no longer uncommon to see cybersecurity experts debating each other on national news, and seeking to explain developments to a bewildered public.

Meanwhile, the IoT’s potential to serve as the unwitting host for cyberattacks on a massive scale was demonstrated by a pair of exploits coming in quick succession.

In September, a massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDos) attack took security researcher and investigative journalist Brian Krebs offline, shutting down his website and blog. The attack made use of an “Internet of Things” bot, Mirai, which has reportedly infected hundreds of thousands of security cameras and other devices worldwide.

Mirai is also thought to be the culprit in a massive October attack against Domain Name Services (DNS) provider Dyn. Dozens of services – including Paypal, Twitter and the websites of leading newspapers and broadcasters – were forced offline.

Is it going too far to speak of a “Digital Pearl Harbor”? Probably not. While cybersecurity experts have long been warning about the risks, awareness has been slow to take root among the general public.

Recent events will hopefully serve as a “wake-up call” and create the sense of urgency needed to address long-standing security issues – including a burgeoning array of risks associated with IoT devices. The need for well-trained cybersecurity warriors has never been greater, and you can join the fight by enrolling in one of Capitol's cybersecurity degree programs, designated as Centers for Excellence by the National Security Administration (NSA).

The challenge to cyber security professionals everywhere is how we secure millions of legacy devices which are already performing important functions within our critical infrastructure and our homes. Academia is beginning to address this issue with awareness campaigns and applying systems engineering processes to system lifecycle support, which includes the concept phase of a new device.

These heady times in the cybersecurity arena coincide with a milestone for Capitol: in November, the university commemorated the 15th anniversary of its groundbreaking master’s degree program in network security, which ultimately grew into the undergraduate and graduate cybersecurity programs we offer today.

Two of the program’s founders – Professors Charles Cayot and David Ward – were on campus for a special ceremony honoring their contributions to the field and to the university. It was an opportunity not only to look back, but also to chart the course forward.

The cybersecurity faculty have been busy getting the word out, with recruiting trips to Fort Gordon and Augusta Technical CC to speak and recruit new students; attendance at the IoT conference in Chicago; and presentations to cyber security students at Volunteer State CC and Delta College.

The department also held its first-ever cybersecurity poster contest, which was won by Sean Mullin and Leif Heaney – both of whom major in disciplines other than cyber!

And, as always, we continued to subject our curriculum to rigorous review, upgrading as needed in order to ensure the education our students receive reflects the most current challenges in the field.

Cybersecurity is entering another era; one that which challenges all disciplines to address the IoT issue head-on and solve it before we’re attacked and our critical infrastructure devastated by a sea of compromised IoT devices.

For more information regarding our cybersecurity programs, please contact Joy Exner at jexner@captechu.edu or click here.

 

 

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 9 Jan 2017

Capitol Technology University will be holding a virtual workshop for students with an interest in applying to the NIST Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF).

The SURF program offers a 11-week summer internship program for undergraduates majoring in chemistry, computer science, engineering, materials science, fire research, nanotechnology, information technlogy, mathematics, biology, manufacturing, statistics, or other STEM disciplines.  The program provides students with hands-on research experience under the mentorship of a NIST scientist or engineer.

Applications for the program are only accepted from colleges or universities, and not from individual students -- so if you're interested in the program, you must go through Career Services.

A virtual workshop will be held on January 25 to help students compile their application materials. Click the link below:

Virtual Session: 2 pm on Adobe Connect http://capitol.adobeconnect.com/surfatcapitol/

If you cannot make it to the workshop, please email careers@captechu.edu to set up an individual appointment.

In addition, NIST will be conducting a webinar on January 24 for all those in tnterested in the program. The event is free but registration is required. For more information, contact Crissy Robinson at christina.robinson@nist.gov or (301) 975-3999.

 

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 14 Dec 2016

Capitol Technology University welcomes the newest member of our electrical engineering faculty, Dr. Chandra Bajracharya. Dr.Bajracharya earned her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Old Dominion University in 2014. Prior to that, she earned a Master’s Degree in Power Systems Engineering from Norwegian University of Science and Technology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Tribhuwan University, Nepal. An experienced instructor, she has taught both in Nepal and the United States.

In the following interview, Dr. Bajracharya discusses her academic background, research interests and teaching vocation.

What inspired you to become an electrical engineer?

I was interested in science, math and technology-related subjects when I was in high school, and my teachers, friends and family always encouraged me to get into technical field. Given that very small percentage of girls choose to go in STEM field, it was a challenge for me to go into a profession where girls are not very much encouraged, and I was determined to take up that challenge.

What are your research interests?

While doing my PhD, I had an opportunity to get involved in research at the Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics, ODU where I was introduced to an exciting field of research, bioelectrics, which is the study of the effect of intense pulsed electric fields on biological cells and tissues. Apart from bioelectrics and pulsed power, I’m also interested in renewable energy, power electronics, smart grid technology and communication systems. So these are the areas that interest me most at the moment.

What do you find most rewarding about teaching?

It’s a great responsibility to be a teacher, and the role of teachers in guiding students thinking and behavior is very critical. When you work hard towards fulfilling that responsibility, and you see the students improving their skills, gaining knowledge and succeeding in their career, the sense of satisfaction, I think is the most rewarding thing. And during the process, you also build a bond with your students, and that is also something a teacher cherishes.

What do you feel are the most important attributes for success in electrical engineering?

Just as any building structure needs a strong foundation to be stable, engineers need an understanding of fundamental principles. For anyone coming into the engineering field, strong mathematical background, analytical and problem solving skills, and ability to think critically and logically are important.

What appeals to you about Capitol?

I find that Capitol is very student-focused; the class sizes are small, and the courses are designed to provide theoretical knowledge integrated with hands-on experience. Capitol being a small university has a family-like atmosphere, and that’s what makes the work environment appealing as well.

What are some of your interests outside of teaching and research?

I like to read books and watch sports. I follow college sports with enthusiasm, mostly football and basketball. Other than that, most of my time outside teaching and research is spent with my kids.
 

 

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 14 Dec 2016

Maintaining a connection with the community is vital for any university, including Capitol. This fall, the Puente Library has been working to strengthen its role in the community through endeavors aimed at assisting families in need.

Starting in November library has conducted successive food drives, one ahead of Thanksgiving and another leading up to Christmas, with the donated food going to FISH/Elizabeth House of Laurel.

Meanwhile, the library has also partnered with the U.S. Marines Corps Reserve's Toys for Tots program, collecting donations of toys for children in need.

“We wanted to give back to the community,” Director of Library Services Beth Emmerling explains. “We’re all very grateful that we have food for the holidays, we have housing, we have so many gifts, and we decided that we want to share them with the community.”

Such outreach is also in keeping with the library’s purpose and mission, she said.

“As a librarian, my job is to share information. Is to share what I know so that you’re then empowered to know it,” Emmerling said. “This is another, excellent way for a library to reach out and to share, whether it be information or food – it‘s similar in that you’re giving people something that matters to them.”

Dr. William Vic Maconachy, vice-president for academic affairs, said the campaigns are reflective of the library's mission and of Capitol Technology University's institutional values.

“We’ve always viewed the library as a learning portal – and that includes being a portal for the community. Just this past semester, we’ve held two campaigns to support Laurel community services that feed the hungry. More recently, faculty, staff and students alike came together to provide toys for tots in the local community, who might otherwise not have things under their Christmas tree.”

“These are examples of what I call the great Capitol spirit,” Maconachy said.

Founded in the 1990s, the Puente Library is home to more than 10,000 books, audio/video selections, and periodicals that support Capitol’s technology and business degree programs.  The library includes a multimedia classroom, study areas, a periodical room, workstations for students, and a Business Resource Center. It hosts a variety of student activities and events throughout the year, including a Halloween costume contest, an Edible Book Contest, and a poetry contest held in conjunction with National Poetry Month.

The library is named for telecommunications pioneer John Puente and his wife Beverly. Puente, who served for three decades as chairman of the university’s board of trustees, was instrumental in Capitol’s evolution from a technical institute to a college granting bachelor’s and graduate degrees.

Blog

Posted by raherschbach on 30 Nov 2016

Capitol celebrated fifteen years of its groundbreaking program in cybersecurity this month, honoring program founders at a special event at the McGowan Center on November 14.

Professors Charles Cayot and David Ward shared their recollections with attendees of the event. They also highlighted attributes of Capitol’s program which, in their view, continue to differentiate the university from its competitors.

“Our faculty is multifaceted,” Professor Ward said. “We have folks from the military, government and private sector – for all the major corporations that are involved in cybersecurity, we have had a member of our faculty, past or present, who has worked for them.”

Cybersecurity at Capitol dates back to 2001, when the university launched a master’s degree program in what was then known as network security. At the time, the subject was generally available at colleges and universities only as an elective, often as part of a computer science program.

Today, Capitol offers programs in cybersecurity at both the graduate and undergraduate level. The doctoral program, founded in 2010, was the first of its kind in the nation – and alumnus Dr. Jason Pittman, who is on the university faculty was the first person to earn a D.Sc. in the field.

Undergraduates can earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Cyber and Information Security, and a master’s degree in the same discipline is offered online. Capitol also operates a Cyber Lab, which provides opportunities to test cybersecurity skills in real-time scenarios, and students also have the opportunity to participate in interdisciplinary projects that combine expertise from several technology fields.

Capitol, Ward said, is “uniquely positioned” for the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) due to the combination of programs available at the university, as well as the school’s emphasis on collaborative learning.

“When you walk into this building [the McGowan Center], you’ll see evidence of the space program, the cyber lab, and robotics. Now, what is the Internet of Things? It’s all these machines and devices that are coming together," Ward said.

“At Capitol we have advanced engineering, advanced computer science, advanced cybersecurity, advanced radio frequency analysis – we’re already there. We already have this symbiotic relationship happening right in front of us.”

Professor Cayot, in his remarks at the event, said the Capitol program was innovative not only because of the field it covered, but also because it helped pioneer a new kind of educational experience: the virtual classroom.

“One thing that a lot of people don’t understand is that Capitol was one of the first  schools in the country to provide live, synchronous online education. We even had to write code for the platform. When we started, we didn’t have Adobe Connect. We didn’t have Centra. It was Capitol, and we built that program,” he said.

Capitol president Dr. Michael T. Wood, academic dean Dr. Helen Barker and Dr. William Butler, chair of the cybersecurity program, also spoke at the event.

Photos: (1) Professor David Ward, (2) Professor Charles Cayot


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