SRU Cybersecurity Fair offers ways to protect online identity


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Slippery Rock University students from the Practical Computer Security class and other vendors will help attendees learn how to secure their personal information online at the 4th Annual Cybersecurity Fair, Nov. 9.

Oct. 19, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Attendance at the Cybersecurity Fair at Slippery Rock University has grown each year, as has the number of students enrolling in the class that hosts the event and organizers hope the trend continues.

Students in the 300-level, liberal studies course Practical Computer Security will present topics related to cybersecurity at the 4th Annual Cybersecurity Fair from 12:30-3 p.m., Nov. 9 in the Smith Student Center Ballroom.

"A lot of my students this year attended the Cybersecurity Fair last year and said, 'This looks like a lot of fun; I want to take (that class) next year,'" said Stephen Larson, associate professor of business, who teaches the Practical Computer Security class.

As if gaining knowledge to protect your identity and financial assets online wasn't incentive enough to attend the event, attendees at the Cybersecurity Fair can enter to win a variety of prizes including two Chromebook laptop computers and Giant Eagle gift cards. Admission is free and attendees will have a card signed at each informational booth that they can redeem for a spin of a prize wheel before exiting.

The fair will cover an array of topics about online safety, including email security, social media, smart phones, Internet privacy and passwords. Other instructional components will include how to secure personal Wi-Fi and personal computers as well as how to backup, encrypt and safely delete data.

Presenters at the booths will include students from the Practical Computer Security class, grouped in teams, that will cover 11 topics. Other vendors such as PNC Bank, the Better Business Bureau, a smart phone repair service provider and SRU's Information and Administrative Technology Services will also offer information about cybersecurity measures.

According to Larson, the students not only learn the subject matter better when they are teaching, but also by engaging with attendees.

"A lot of students said they thought they had everything covered, but when they got to the fair, people were asking questions they never even thought of before," Larson said. "I have them write those questions down and then they do more research on it after the fair and then they do a reflective essay."

Larson can't emphasize enough the importance of online safety and encourages people to attend.

"Everybody who has a social security number is at risk," said Larson, acknowledging recent news of Yahoo!, Equifax and other companies who have suffered security breaches that have resulted in unauthorized access to customer's personal information by hackers. "Almost every day there's a new data breach. Hundreds of millions of accounts get hacked every year."

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