Within the last few months, two cyber attacks have crippled entire industries in the United States. One attack threatened a gas shortage on the East Coast and another threatened a meat shortage across the country. With cyber crime on the rise, many people, including Muncie locals and Ball State students, wonder how it can affect them.
Because of the concern people had, the Ball Brothers Foundation began a new funding initiative called Project Sybertooth. The foundation partnered with Ivy Tech and local law enforcement to come up with a series of classes dedicated to preparing law enforcement to deal with and solve cyber crimes and crimes that can be solved with digital evidence.
“Cyber crime threats are increasing throughout the country," said Jim Duckham, Ball State director of public safety via email. "Many crimes are solved with digital evidence [and] having training in these areas will make our department more efficient and hopefully increase the solvability rates of these crimes."
Identity theft and ransomware attacks are happening more frequently, and individuals and small businesses are vulnerable to these attempts.
How to protect yourself from cyber attacks
For individuals and businesses:
Use a comprehensive Internet security suite on your personal computers and mobile devices (Norton, McAfee etc.).
Keep all software up to date by turning on automatic updates.
Use strong passwords and do not share them with anyone.
Use secure Wi-Fi networks.
Regularly manage social media privacy settings.
Find more tips on protecting your business here.
Source: Vinayak Tanksale, senior lecturer of computer science
“Electronic crime has been growing exponentially and is unfortunately expected to grow at a similar rate. There are a variety of malicious actors that launch a myriad of attacks,” said Vinayak Tanksale, Ball State senior lecturer of computer science. “Their targets range from individual consumers to big corporations. Hence, it is vital for education and training courses to exist across the academic and professional curriculum.”
Officers from the Muncie Police Department, Delaware County Sheriff's Office and Ball State University Police Department (UPD) are taking these classes on cybersecurity. After training, Muncie will have a group of officers who know how to handle and solve cyber crimes, and work better with people from the private sector to achieve new ways to solve and prevent these crimes.
“This new skill set will help UPD address cyber crime," Duckham said. "Additionally, many crimes are solved with digital evidence [and] this training will help our detectives develop and process digital evidence."
Contact Sam Shipe with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JournalistSam.