Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Cybersecurity, in collaboration with the Information Technology Support Center, will host the fifteenth annual Cybersecurity Day on October 18.

This annual event features nationally recognized security experts as well as speakers from regional law enforcement, government, the security industry, and academia.

It is free and open to the community.

“Cybersecurity Day at IUP, now in its fifteenth year, continues to feature speakers at the highest levels in their fields, and is always well attended,” Waleed Farag, director of the IUP Institute for Cybersecurity and professor of computer science, said.

“This annual event, which draws students, faculty, and community members, brings nationally recognized security experts from academia, government, and the private sector to share their expertise,” he said.

“The event provides an important opportunity for participants to learn more about cybersecurity, including several essential and practical security aspects of our daily computer-dependent life,” he said.

This year’s event features speakers including the associate director of the Air Force Research Lab, the lead academic outreach at the National Security Administration, the technical director of Cyber Workforce Development at Carnegie Mellon University SEI, an FBI special agent, the director of product for Locomation, and IUP’s Information Technology Support senior staff.

This event is part of IUP's efforts to celebrate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (in October).

The program will be held in IUP’s Hadley Union Building Ohio Room from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The event begins with welcome and opening remarks from Farag, IUP Provost Lara Luetkehans, Interim Dean of the John J. and Char Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Steven Hovan, and Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences Chair Francisco Alarcón.

Farag will present closing remarks at 3:50 p.m.

The schedule for the event and information about the presenters is as follows:

9:30 a.m. – “Countermeasures and Risk Management: A Principled Approach”

Rita Doerr, Academic Outreach Lead for the NSA

  • Doerr has been employed as a computer scientist with the National Security Agency for more than 37 years. She is currently the academic outreach lead for the Cybersecurity Directorate’s Cybersecurity Collaboration Center. Prior to her arrival in CSD, she was a cyber instructor within NSA’s National Cryptologic School’s College of Cyber. During this assignment, Doerr completed a three-year technical development program focusing on cybersecurity education and training, where she toured in NSA’s Red Team and Academic Engagement Offices. Her external tours included teaching at Archbishop Spalding High School and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s CSEE graduate program, and serving as a cyber consultant for the Maryland Air National Guard’s 175th Cyberspace Operations Group.

10:20 a.m. – “From Gang Busters to Ransomware Gangs: Evolution of FBI Investigations”

Mackenzie Monarko, special agent and private sector coordinator, FBI Pittsburgh

  • Special Agent Monarko joined the FBI in 2006 and is currently assigned to the FBI Pittsburgh Division. Her previous office assignments included Albuquerque and Philadelphia, and she has worked a variety of investigations to include violent gangs, organized crime, international and domestic terrorism, and criminal cyber matters. In January 2021, Special Agent Monarko took on the role of private sector coordinator, where she works closely with cyber and counterintelligence agents and intelligence analysts to keep organizations apprised of priority threat intelligence.

11:10 a.m. – “Become a Cyber Warrior for Free, Courtesy of Uncle Sam”

Christopher May, Technical Director, Cyber Workforce Development, CERT Division, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University

  • May is a technical director within the CERT Division of Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute. In this role, he leads a team of more than 60 cybersecurity researchers in developing the technical abilities of the US military’s cyber operators. Additionally, he founded the Cyber Forensics and Incident Response curriculum track within CMU’s Information Security master’s degree program and taught courses therein for 17 years. Prior to joining Carnegie Mellon, May served seven years as a US Air Force communications officer. 

1:15 p.m. – “Information Warfare”

Bryant Wysocki, Senior Level Executive, Technical Advisor for C4I and Cyber Systems for the Air Force and Associate Director, Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome, NY

  • Wysocki, a retired Air Force officer, is the recognized national/international authority on C4I and cyber systems and provides technical oversight of these areas for the Air Force and advice on C4l and cyber systems to the highest-level Air Force and government officials. Wysocki, a former chief engineer with the Information Directorate, evaluates technical approaches and develops transition strategies for the Directorate and serves as the senior scientist liaison to external national and international partners across government, academia, and industry. He started his active duty career with the Air Force as a nuclear weapons technician in 1991 and served in numerous technical and operational positions throughout his service as a development engineer and later as a civilian scientist.

2:10 p.m. – “Designing Systems for Security: Walls are Only as Secure as They are Designed”

Nigel Wright, Director of Product for Locomation

  • Wright is an advocate for reliable, safe, and secure automated systems, and has spent his career developing safety-critical autonomous systems and currently serves as director of product for Locomation, responsible for product initiatives and strategy. Wright also supports the advisory boards for IUP and PennWest California, providing support for curriculum development. Wright holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering technology from California University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in business administration from Point Park, and has completed executive post-graduate education in software architecture (Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute), model-based system engineering (with MITx), innovation management (Villach, Austria), and leadership and culture (Harvard University in partnership with Uber).

3:05 p.m. – “Multi-Factor Authentication: A Cybersecurity Difference Maker”

Panel discussion with IUP IT Services team members Bill Balint, chief information officer; Amanda Marshall, director, Project Management; and Dan Yuhas, director, IT Compliance and Administration. Todd Cunningham, executive director, will serve as moderator.

  • Balint has 34 years of IT experience and became IUP's chief information officer in 2006. He has presented at more than 50 industry events at the regional, state, national, and international levels and has authored, co-authored, or been interviewed for more than 35 publications and websites via written, audio, and video formats. He is also a member of the Pittsburgh Executive CIO governing board.

  • Marshall began her career as a help desk technician for Commonwealth Systems Corporation. She has held several technology positions at IUP, including technology support analyst, coordinator of user services, and, most recently, director of project management for IT Services. One of her most recent projects is the implementation of DUO, IUP’s multifactor authentication service. She is also instrumental in IUP cybersecurity initiatives.

  • Yuhas began his career as a software engineer for Vitro Corporation designing tactical weapons systems for the US Navy.  He has held a variety of technology positions at IUP for 32 years, including director of Research and Development and director of Instructional and Research Technologies. He currently serves as director of IT Compliance and Administration focusing on IT compliance, cybersecurity, IT strategy, IT governance, IT policy, contracting, and personnel and financial management.

The Institute for Cybersecurity at IUP was founded in 2005 to further encourage and promote cybersecurity at IUP and the surrounding community.

For the past 20 years, IUP has been recognized as a Center for Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency, one of only 16 universities in Pennsylvania to hold this designation. IUP is one of the first universities in the nation to integrate the disciplines of criminology and computer science to support an academic program in cybersecurity.

In the last six years, IUP’s Institute for Cybersecurity has secured more than $15 million in federal funding for IUP-sponsored initiatives and programs. In September, Farag was successful in securing IUP’s largest single grant, $4.98 million, from the Department of Defense for the first three years of a novel project to enhance cybersecurity and STEM education in Pennsylvania (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The project period of performance is expected to be six years with a total funding of about $11 million. This grant is the largest single grant that has ever been awarded to IUP. 

Over the last five years, Farag has secured more than $2 million through a Department of Defense program that has provided 37 full scholarships to students in IUP’s cybersecurity major. Part of the scholarship opportunity is a guaranteed position with the Department of Defense after graduation. Farag also has received than $1 million in federal funding for IUP to enhance cybersecurity training for middle school students and teachers through the GenCyber program. More than 450 middle school students and teachers have completed GenCyber camps since 2016.

IUP began offering its bachelor of science in computer science/cyber security track (originally information assurance) and a minor in cybersecurity in 2002. This program combined core computer science and cybersecurity classes with a minor in criminology, creating a novel curriculum that helped students gain a broad understanding of the field and be work-ready.

The IUP Cybersecurity program has about 120 students enrolled, and about 20 students annually complete the program and receive their bachelor’s degree in the computer science/cyber security track. IUP’s program also focuses on cybercrime detection, loss prevention, and how to collect evidence to prosecute cybersecurity offenders.

IUP has a longstanding commitment to research on all levels and in all disciplines. In 2021, IUP was one of only two public universities in Pennsylvania and one of only 93 public universities in the United States selected for the “High Research Activity” designation by the Carnegie Classification of Higher Institutions of Higher Education.