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Kean Celebrates National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

By Jalen Gaynor | Published November 19, 2022

The Office of Computer & Information Services (OCIS), and the Center for Cybersecurity at Kean hosted a webinar on Oct. 25 in honor of Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

President George W. Bush and congress first declared October to be Cybersecurity Awareness Month in 2004. The month was established to help individuals protect themselves and their private data online.

Kean’s webinar was not only about raising awareness for cybersecurity but also informing those in attendance about the tools and resources available at the university.

Kean Center for Cybersecurity | Credit: Rafaela Teixeira

Kean has been making several changes recently in an effort to fortify the university’s cybersecurity. One of the major steps in that process was bringing in Dawn Dunkerley, Virtual Chief Information Security Officer at OCIS.

Dunkerley has helped create a formal cybersecurity policy and plan which includes integrating multi-factor authentication and the implementation of BitSight Monitoring solution and Carbon Black Endpoint Detection and Response.

Dunkerley spoke highly of BitSight monitoring, explaining that she uses the tool pretty heavily in her current position to help assess the potential risks the university may face.

“Everything from understanding what’s on the dark web to are we patching our systems appropriately keeping them up to date, do we have any file sharing from places that shouldn’t be taking place,” Dunkerley said. “It assigns a credit score based on the risk that the university is currently at based on the implementation of many of these factors.”

National Center of Academic Excellence | Credit: Kean Website

Another important new implementation Dunkerley went over is Carbon Black Endpoint Detection and Response. This is an important tool because it provides protection in the event bad things happen and the systems are affected negatively.

“A piece of software that sits on the individual systems that allow us to when something gets through shut it down,” Dunkerley said. “Having the next generation capabilities like Carbon Black is absolutely essential.”

The university is showing through these additions that they are committed to protecting the students, faculty, and staff’s private information. This webinar is important because of how frequently phishing emails are sent out to students and staff asking them to input personal information.

The information given at this event informs individuals about the steps they can take to recognize these dangerous messages and the ways they can combat these attempts to violate them.

Kean was designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CD) by the National Security Agency earlier this year. The university was given this honor due to its academic programs and practices to address the shortage of trained cybersecurity professionals in the workforce, a rising national crisis.

Kean OCIS logo | Credit: Kean Twitter

Back when the acknowledgment was announced, Stan Mierzwa, Managing Assistant Director and Lecturer at the Center for Cybersecurity, voiced his excitement about what it means for Kean.

“Kean University is contributing toward successfully training and educating the future workforce for positions in the high-demand cybersecurity field,” Mierzwa said. “This validation will help the university further its efforts to develop and expand its cybersecurity programs, aiming to provide greater opportunities for our students and graduates in this growing field.”

Between their designation by the National Security Agency and this webinar, Kean has shown that they are committed to cybersecurity awareness and want people to feel confident in their safety on and off campus.

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