With the Internet of Things, handheld devices and telecommuting options – the future will be even more technological than before. At the same time, the need for professionals who can provide a seamless and secure experience will be even greater, explains Alexander Perez-Pons, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
“It will be great, one day, when we have self-driving cars. They will communicate with each other and with various centralized locations. The infrastructure that supports this will need to be protected,” he illustrates as an example. “This is also the case with drones. Soon, Amazon will use drones to deliver goods to your door. Again, they will communicate with a network, so protecting the infrastructure with network security will be important going forward with the growth we see. “
According to Perez-Pons, the best route to being in demand and fully proficient to handle technology development is to pursue a computer engineering degree that gives graduates the tools to solve problems. network security from both hardware and software. In the following Q&A, Perez-Pons lays out why an MS in Computer Engineering: Cyber Security is so valuable.
Cybersecurity and computer engineering – what is connectivity?
Computer engineering is at a crossroads between both hardware and software, and cybersecurity is supported by both. You must understand equipment and programming, both hardware and software. There are countless skills you master with computer engineering that help you understand this. It is the combination of these categories that are relied upon to create and build cybersecurity solutions.
What is the role of a computer engineer in network security?
A solid computer engineering background provides the ability to find solutions when it comes to cybersecurity. For example, you need to be able to analyze malware. That means you must understand computer programs and software to understand and support the forensic process. With forensics, you need to understand how devices work – the hardware – and how these devices provide access to the information contained on them, beyond how these devices communicate, end-to-end.
You must understand the software involved, how devices encode, and how they execute on different platforms or endpoints. Things like encryption algorithms provide security for data and transmission when you have data in transit and again, this is the software side.
What is the value of earning an MS in computer engineering with a major in cybersecurity?
Many of the skill sets you acquire with computer engineering, software and hardware understanding, are relevant for the cybersecurity courses that are part of our computer engineering program.
Hardware understanding includes how devices are configured, how they are integrated into the network, and how they are integrated and function to support each other. Computer engineering provides the fundamental and tangible skills you’ll need to be able to map those skills into aspects of cybersecurity.
The advantage of having a computer engineering degree is that you know that a graduate will have both software and hardware skills, in addition to the cybersecurity part. Computer engineering is a technical degree, which means you have the technical skills to build an organization’s cybersecurity infrastructure.
The Master of Science in Computer Engineering: The Cybersecurity Track is a technical degree in computer engineering that provides students with the tools to understand hardware, software, and communication skills – skills Required hard engineering related to network security.
How has computer technology today adapted and changed according to the needs?
There is a growth boom with embedded devices. There are more communication devices and more Internet of Things devices, so now we know we have a different infrastructure. We also have 5G now online in regions for better communication between devices. This acceleration is creating different types of abuse cases that will exist in different applications. So networking is fundamental, especially with remote work and working from home between cities and countries. There are many different infrastructures to consider. We need to protect those endpoints. We need to make sure we protect those networks.
The exponential growth we’ve seen means we’ll need more network security, so cybersecurity has to adapt to support further protecting these devices. We will have more networks in our society and will need more protections. Whether it’s Wi-Fi networks or other physical networks, they all have to be protected.
The way malware enters a computer is through the network. The way that you know certain attacks are carried out is through the network. Unless you actually go to your environment and connect directly to your computer, hackers will be able to access your resources through the network, unless you protect it. The network is an indispensable means of protection and is used by many attackers to gain access to your data and resources.
If you’re trying to protect an infrastructure, it’s got to be the network – it’s the most fundamental and core aspect of what you need to protect, more than anything else. This is why we chose network security as the most important specialty we need to consider.