Lecture series speaks to the importance of cybersecurity

Alex Brinkhorst

While the wild west pioneering days of the internet have mostly ended, the struggle and fight against cybercrime is still growing.

To help make the public more aware of cybersecurity, the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering hosted the “Emerging Cyber Threats” lecture. 

As a part of UK’s Distinguished Lecture Series, the talk itself featured Jimmy Murphy, a computer scientist for the FBI’s Louisville branch.

In his presentation, Murphy explained that a data breech cost averages at about $6.5 million, and that it is also around $217 for each record lost. He also went on to explain that the average time of detecting a breach of security is about 205 days. 

He made the comparison of having the door of a bank vault unlocked for half of a year without bank employees knowing.

Another issue is that of ransomware, or a malicious program that will encrypt your data and hold it for “ransom” until you pay the specified amount of money to the people who deployed the malware.

Murphy briefly mentioned that a recent case was the San Francisco Public Transit system, Muni. The attacker demanded $73,000 in bitcoin (an online cryptocurrency) after the system was infected. Muni has, in turn, allowed customers to ride for free. 

Murphy also discussed the idea of the large security risks with the “Internet of Things” (or IOT), which are household appliances that are connected to the internet, the flaw being that these devices were not designed with security in mind. 

A recent case includes the Mirai Worm, which utilized the under protected IOT to launch a large scale attack on Deutsche Telekom, a German service provider. 

After the talk, Steven Roggenkamp, a Biomedical Informatics Programmer, gave more insight into the issue of student security. 

He said that students are “not nearly as secure as they think they are.” He also expressed his concern about “how much stuff people allow to get out.”

This mirrored Matt Martin, a marketing freshman, who said, “I just took a COM class where we learned how the media can watch our every move.” But in the sense of hackers and cybersecurity, he said he felt “pretty safe.”