Preventing cyber attacks: investing in system protections & training future cyber experts

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 10:06 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Recent cyber-attacks around the country, as well as ones locally, begs one question: what do we need to do to protect ourselves?

Company after company is forced to choose between the two questions: hand over millions to foreign hackers, or suffer the consequences.

Jay Town, a vice president for Gray Analytics says you should never let it get to that point.

“Nobody has to tell us to shut our car doors, turn our car off and take the keys when we go inside because it’s common sense. We have to do the same thing with our businesses,” Town said.

Gray Analytics works with businesses and the defense sector to make sure cyber environments are secure.

Town says, making cyber protections part of annual budgets is essential.

“Or are you actually involved in annual, or maybe even quarterly penetration tests, threat hunts, red team tests, doing training for your employees, doing all of the above. If you’re not doing all those things then your cyber environment is not as secure as you think it is,” he explained.

And if Americans can’t get a handle on the situation ourselves, Town fears the federal government will be forced to step in.

“If government recognizes that people just aren’t paying attention to the threats that are hourly now... then at some point the government is going to have to take action. And that bill you were deciding whether or not you wanted to pay, is just something if you want to operate in a certain sector of a certain level, you’re going to have to. And I don’t think we want to get there,” Town said.

Meanwhile, Alabama is working on training the next generation of cybersecurity experts.

“This school’s going to be a national model. We already have other schools from not just in Alabama, from outside Alabama, looking at what we’re doing,” Matt Massey, President of ASCTE said.

The new Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering is the only public high school in the country, focusing on cyber technology.

It finished its first year using part of Oakwood University. Its new campus is expected to be finished next summer.

“The main mission that we have is for students to be able to ensure those cyber preventions and be able to prevent attacks. When attacks do happen, have a backup in place to be resilient,” Massey said.

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