This past Wednesday, Bradley University’s annual Cybersecurity Day event took place, where speakers shared information regarding digital threats to dozens of attendees.
Between 1 and 5 p.m. in Westlake Hall Room 116, three speakers experienced in cybersecurity — Kevin Eack, Ronald Jost and Brittany Kaiser — discussed the various kinds of work they’ve been involved with.
The event is one of many that Bradley’s Center for Cybersecurity (CFC) hosted as part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
Eack, a consultant with over 30 years of law enforcement experience, spoke on the dangers of digital and financial threats, advising attendees to stay informed on the most frequent types.
“You’ve got to be prepared, and you do that by preparing yourself both here educationally and also through certifications and training,” Eack said.
Ronald Jost, Bradley alumnus and president of an analytical corporation affiliated with the U.S. Department of Defense, shed light on the defenses used by the upper ranks of national security to combat cyber threats.
While his strategies were complex, Jost also offered everyday advice.
“Change [your password] to 16 characters, minimum. Two years from now, it’ll be 20,” Jost said.
The sessions concluded with a discussion featuring Brittany Kaiser, whose current stance on public data rights and former tenure as a business director for Cambridge Analytica during its 2018 data scandal were documented in the Netflix documentary “The Great Hack.”
“All of our speakers have simply wanted to volunteer their time to impart their wisdom and expertise to future generations,” said CFC Director Jacob Young.
Young saw the event’s informative goal as a crucial one.
“Students need to hear from those who are actively working in the field so they can better understand the various roles involved in protecting data and organizations from cyber threats,” Young said.
He further emphasized such events in the face of technology evolving faster than classrooms can keep up with.
“Without the ability to supplement our cybersecurity curriculum … we would not be able to deliver a well-rounded education to our students,” Young said.
As attendees’ questions were prioritized, the audience’s involvement created an engaging atmosphere of active learning in the room.
“It allows attendees of all backgrounds to learn something new,” Young said. “If every attendee walks away with at least one new insight on how to protect themselves … all of the effort that goes into putting on Cybersecurity Day is worth it.”
This sentiment reflected students’ takeaways.
“It was actually pretty interesting to learn about the stuff I didn’t know anything about before,” Ashley Lessen, senior television arts major, said. “In today’s world, where technology is everywhere all the time, I think it’s important for people to know at least a little bit about it so that they can keep themselves and their data safe.”
While this year’s efforts have wrapped up, Young said the CFC has future plans to expand awareness.