Madison Middle School Cyber Security Days at DSU

The DSU Cyber Corps hosted approximately 300 Madison Middle School students, on Friday, Oct. 19, and Monday, Oct. 22,for half-day cyber security education on the Dakota State University campus. The students attended six sessions led by the experienced students and faculty in computer and network security at DSU. The sessions focused on online identity management, cyber bullying, malicious USB drives, patching and updating your computer, digital forensics, and password strength.

During the introduction, Associate Professor, Dr. Josh Pauli, welcomed the students to campus.  He encouraged them to learn more about one of DSU’s most popular computer degrees, computer and network security. DSU is one of four schools in the United States selected by the National Security Agency (NSA) as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations. The other schools include the Naval Postgraduate School, Calif.; Northeastern University, Mass.; and University of Tulsa, Okla.

“We don’t teach you how to hack; we teach you how to defend the companies you will work for,” said Pauli. “The NSA, National Security Agency, hires our graduates.”

The students attended the sessions and learned how to use the Internet safely and to keep anonymity online to maintain their privacy. The discussion on cyber stalking included the use of appropriate security settings on social networking sites, like Facebook, to ensure privacy, and not to use personal information, like name, initials, birth year, or PIN numbers when creating usernames.

An important topic addressed at the program that affects many middle school aged children is cyber bullying. The students discussed all the ways this happens in today’s society by the use of email, instant messaging, chat rooms, video games, social networks, and texting. The effects of cyber bullying were also discussed, such as loss of appetite, thoughts of causing harm to yourself and others, depression, loss of interest in school, and being afraid of any social interaction. Some statistics mentioned during the session stated that one is three kids say they’ve been cyber bullied at least once, and that nine out of ten middle school students have had their feelings hurt online.

The ability to create strong passwords lowers a person’s chance of being hacked. The students learned how to create strong passwords by using eight or more characters, adding numbers and symbols, and use upper and lower-case letters. They were also warned not to make the password to complicated or confusing and to change it every three to six months.

During the Cyber Security Day sessions, the middle school students asked questions and participated in various activities to make the most of each presentation. 

Last Updated: 10/22/12