College asks experts what to teach cyber-security students

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SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (WTNH)- With hacker attacks on the rise, one local college wants to offer a degree in cyber-security. Naugatuck Valley Community College held a summit this morning with a whole bunch of people who know about internet security, telling officials from NVCC what they should be teaching their students about internet security.

Hackers stole the information of millions of Anthem customers, the emails of Sony executives, and at banking technology company COCC in Southington, they fend off hackers al the time.

“We’ll see anywhere from 5 to 50,000 unique attacks each month,” according to COCC Chief Information Security Officer Kevin Hamel. “It’s never a dull moment.”

That’s why COCC is hosting a cyber-security forum with experts from industry, public service and law enforcement. Former police chief and current Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary counts as a least two of those.

“Cyber security is of the utmost importance because it is the wave of the future with the technology advances that we have with the internet and so on,” O’Leary said.

O’Leary also chairs the advisory board of Naugatuck Valley Community College. The college is using the information from this summit to help design courses for a new degree in cyber-security. It’s a little different from how college used to work. Instead of teaching kids a set of skills and hoping they match up with what businesses want, the college president says NVCC is working with businesses to determine what they’re looking for and designing the curriculum around that.

“To have the experts tell the college what are the kinds of things they would expect from our students were they to hire them as employees,” said Naugatuck Valley Community College President Dr. Daisy Cocco De Filippis.

With hackers getting better and better, and with more of our lives lived in cyberspace, there has never been more of a need for cyber-security experts.

“So it’s absolutely key,” said COCC’s Hamel. “You know we need to make sure the young generation has a good focus on security given all the threats that are out there in the world around us today.”

This is just the latest in a series of summits the college is having. They’ve already had one with the manufacturing industry and they have five more scheduled.

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