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Cyber Security

Cybersecurity Degrees in Pennsylvania — Your Guide to Choosing a School




Cybersecurity degrees

While cybersecurity is a growing area, not all states and regions have the same degree of educational and economic opportunity to fully prepare for the opportunities and jobs opportunities in the evolving industry.

Table of Contents

Cybersecurity Development in Pennsylvania

When it comes to cybersecurity growth, Pennsylvania is a bit of a mixed bag. It has several small cities, as well as many large metropolitan centres that are near to some of the world’s most significant business centres, such as New York and Washington, DC.

Furthermore, Pennsylvania used to be one of the country’s major manufacturing centres, but now focuses on banking, financial services, and insurance companies, especially in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Furthermore, Pennsylvania is home to a large number of rapidly expanding technology firms.

As a result, relative to other partially rural states, Pennsylvania’s cybersecurity growth has accelerated. The Pennsylvania Office of Administration has successfully pressed for cybersecurity advancement in the state, resulting in multiple awards and the promotion of a cyber-aware society, among other things.

Cybersecurity Education in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is an excellent place to pursue cybersecurity education, particularly because three of its universities are ranked among the top ten HP cybersecurity schools. Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pittsburgh, and West Chester University of Pennsylvania are the universities in question.

Other worthwhile schools are mentioned below, but these three provide robust cybersecurity initiatives as well as extensive resource networks to aid in job search after graduation.

Why is Pennsylvania such a good cybersecurity state?

For instance, the Army Research Laboratory is leading the latest Cyber-Security Collaborative Research Alliance with Penn State. Present and potential cybersecurity practitioners will use this cybersecurity research collective to push the boundaries of current cybersecurity knowledge.

Furthermore, Amazon, Google, Tesla, and Adobe all have major presences in Pennsylvania and its universities. All of these big corporations have made substantial investments in the future of cybersecurity, and those who make the cut will have excellent job opportunities. They are responsible for a significant portion of the state’s existing cybersecurity jobs and growth.

Overall, Pennsylvania is well-positioned along the United States’ East Coast, with plenty of cybersecurity research and job openings within its borders and other companies within driving distance for many of its graduates.

Associate Degrees

Campus-based cybersecurity associate’s degrees in Pennsylvania

As a starting point, associate degrees in cybersecurity are ideal. They usually have curricula that concentrate on fundamental cybersecurity and computer science concepts, as well as many of a student’s general education requirements. These degrees aren’t always enough to get you a work in cybersecurity, but they’re a good place to start.

Butler County Community College, the Community College of Pennsylvania, Lehigh Carbon Community College, and Pennsylvania Highlands Community College are the five colleges that deliver on-campus associate degrees in cybersecurity.

The majority of the degrees on offer are in computer science, with cybersecurity as a specialty or specialisation. This isn’t surprising, considering the need for an associate’s degree to concentrate on general knowledge rather than details.

Online Associate Degrees

There are no online associate degree options in Pennsylvania. Students will also get a cybersecurity education online from a Pennsylvania school if they participate in a bachelor’s programme or higher; these programmes would have the foundational courses that most associate degrees do as well.

Bachelor’s Degrees

Campus cybersecurity bachelor’s degrees in Pennsylvania

Bachelor’s degrees are far more focused on their subject matter, with more courses relating to cybersecurity or computer science expertise in their curricula. These degrees are typically the entry-level qualifications required for employment in the cybersecurity sector.

In Pennsylvania, 11 colleges offer on-campus bachelor’s degree programmes. Penn State University’s cybersecurity programme is renowned for its extensive class offerings and comprehensive educational pathways, as well as its connections to numerous cybersecurity organisations that can help you find work after graduation.

Because of its proximity to many cybersecurity firms and major metropolitan areas, the University of Pittsburgh is also a good choice. Although these do not have a direct impact on the school’s program’s efficiency, they do include comprehensive networking opportunities during and after school.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees

Pennsylvania colleges and universities now offer five online bachelor’s degree programmes. At Penn State’s Main Campus, two of these are accessible. Their programmes place a heavy emphasis on basic programming and statistical awareness, as well as the mathematical underpinnings of many cybersecurity concepts. These systems, on the other hand, are well-known for their outstanding performances.

Although it is in Cyber Forensics and Information Security, Robert Morris University also has an excellent curriculum. If you want to merge a passion for criminal justice with your cybersecurity expertise, this might be a great degree for you.

Master’s Degrees

Campus-based cybersecurity master’s degrees in Pennsylvania

Master’s degrees aren’t required to work in cybersecurity, but they can open more doors to jobs than a traditional bachelor’s degree and have more advanced expertise in cybersecurity sub-fields. If you want to focus on a specific position or job direction, such as analysis, threat monitoring, or security, these degrees are a great option.

Carnegie Mellon University is one of 11 universities that deliver on-campus master’s degrees in cybersecurity. This school stands out because of its high rankings in multiple cybersecurity programme rankings as well as a diverse list of degree titles. Regulation and management, privacy engineering, information technology, and general information networking are all options.

Of course, Penn State’s master’s degree programmes enable students who have already completed their bachelor’s degree at the university to continue their education faster than if they moved.

Online Master’s Degrees

There are 12 schools in Pennsylvania that deliver online master’s degrees, with Penn State once again leading the list due to its wide range of degree titles and excellent curricula. These programmes do demand that all students have a bachelor’s degree in math or technology, but they still provide one of the best cybersecurity educations in the state to those who make the cut.

For those with three years of work experience and an asynchronous schedule, Carnegie Mellon offers an MS online degree in Information Technology; it’s a great option for part-time students who need to work while studying.

Finally, Robert Morris University offers an MS in cybersecurity for current IT practitioners, as well as many specialisations for an Enterprise Systems focus.


Campus-based cybersecurity certificate programmes in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania schools offer 11 different certificates. These certificates help you to advance your career or sharpen your cybersecurity skills in a specific field. Alternatively, you can receive these certificates without having a cybersecurity degree and, with the right advice, get a job in the sector.

Online Certificate Programs

A large number of online credential programmes are also available. In addition to the schools listed above, several of these are accessible from:

Cybersecurity Jobs in Pennsylvania

According to CyberSeek, Pennsylvania has 14,441 open cybersecurity jobs, compared to a total cybersecurity workforce of 29,851. As a result, the supply/demand ratio for cybersecurity staff is 2.1, relative to a national average of 2.0. All of this means that while there are less cybersecurity positions in Pennsylvania than in larger or more urban states, there are still plenty of opportunities for cybersecurity professionals and graduates.

The majority of these jobs are entry-level or middle-management roles, such as cybersecurity engineers and analysts, cybersecurity managers and administrators, and vulnerability analysts and penetration testers. As a result, there are several job opportunities for new or experienced cybersecurity professionals.

The majority of jobs will be in Pittsburgh or similar metro areas, but you must consider the cost of living in this mixed rural/urban state. On a scale of one to ten, Pennsylvania’s average cost of living is 92.5, with ratings below 100 indicating a lower cost of living than the national average.

The average hourly wage for a cybersecurity worker in Pennsylvania is $46.93, with an annual income of about $97,000. These wages would go a bit farther in Pennsylvania than in other states, potentially making it a good place to save money or raise a family.

Pennsylvania and Cybersecurity

Overall, Pennsylvania is an excellent option for those interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity. Because of its proximity to many other tech-oriented states, there are numerous educational opportunities and choices, as well as many paths to consistent jobs either in the state or within a short distance of those schools.

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Cyber Security

Researchers Discovered Apple’s Find My’s Offline Finding Network to Upload Data from Devices





Researchers have found a way to use Apple’s Find My’s Offline Finding network to upload data from computers that aren’t connected to the internet or mobile networks.

The data is sent to nearby Apple devices that can connect to the Internet through Bluetooth Low Energy, and then to Apple’s servers, where it can be retrieved at a later date.

According to researchers with Positive Security, a Berlin-based security consulting company, the technique could be used to escape the costs and power consumption associated with mobile Internet, or to exfiltrate data from Faraday-shielded sites visited by iPhone users.

Positive Security discovered a way to use Find My BLE broadcasts to send data to nearby Apple computers, based on a March 2021 study from academic researchers at the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany, which explains weaknesses in Apple’s Find My network.

Although the link between an AirTag and an Apple device is protected using an Elliptic Curve key pair, the owner device doesn’t know which particular key is used by the AirTag, so it produces a list of keys that AirTag has recently used, as well as querying an Apple service for their SHA256 hashes, according to Positive Security’s researchers.

According to the researchers, “Apple does not know which public keys belong to your AirTag, and therefore which location reports were intended for you.”

The position reports, on the other hand, can only be decrypted with the correct private key, but the researchers discovered that they could verify if such reports exist for a given SHA256 hash and even add reports to it.

“In the shared key-value store, we can set arbitrary bits and query them again. We can transmit arbitrary data if both the sender and receiver agree on an encoding scheme,” the researchers demonstrate.

The researchers used the ESP32 microcontroller, an OpenHaystack-based firmware, and a macOS application to retrieve, decode, and view the transmitted data in their setup, which they published on GitHub as proof-of-concept code.

The sending rate is about 3 bytes per second, but higher speeds are possible. Depending on the number of nearby devices, a latency of 1 to 60 minutes was reported.

The method could be used to upload sensor readings or other data from IoT devices, exfiltrate information from air-gapped networks, or even deplete the mobile data plans of nearby iPhones (through broadcasting many unique public keys).

Apple should enforce authentication of the BLE advertising (the current setup doesn’t distinguish between real and spoofed AirTags) and rate limit the position report retrieval to prevent such an assault.

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Cyber Security

IOTW: Ransomware Attack Closes Colonial Pipeline




Signs point to the fact that it was DarkSide, a Robin Hood-like hacking group who successfully executed a ransomware attack that shutdown the Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline. There are conflicting reports about how the incident will further impact the distribution of U.S. domestic oil to the Eastern states and gas prices. 

Private companies working with U.S. government agencies shutdown the cloud servers from which the attacks on the Colonial Pipeline and 12 other companies were launched. They also retrieved the stolen data which was bound for Russia.

The main pipeline has been closed for several days. While the smaller pipelines were also affected, they were restored first as part of a phased plan. The Pipeline stretches from Texas to the Northeast, delivering about 45% of the fuel consumed by the East Coast.

The Facts

On Friday, May 7, the Colonial Pipeline announced its operations had been halted as a result of a ransomware incident that shutdown the main pipeline and smaller pipelines. Incident response began the day before, on Thursday. 

By Sunday, the smaller lines were operational again. However, the mainline remains down at the time of this writing. Early in the week, President Joe Biden worked with the Department of Transportation to lift oil trucking hour restrictions to keep the gas products flowing. On Wednesday, the White House released an Executive Order on Imrpoving National Cyber Security. The Colonial Pipeline is now fully operational, but not before panic-stricken consumers started hoarding gas and complaining about price gouging.

The Colonial Pipeline transports more than 2.5 million barrels a day of diesel, gasoline, jet fuel and natural gas via Gulf Coast pipelines that span more than 5,500 miles.

Reuters reported that the hackers stole more than 100 GB of data and that the FBI and other government agencies had successfully collaborated with private companies to take down the cloud servers the hackers used to steal the data. The ransom amount remains undisclosed and so does Colonial Pipelines’ response to the extortion attempt.  

DarkSide claims it does not target schools, hospitals, nursing homes or government organizations and that it donates part of its bounty to charity. The group reportedly demands payment for a decryption key and is increasingly demanding additional payment not to publish stolen data. DarkSide also stated on its website recently that it is not geopolitically motivated.

The Colonial Pipeline attack has been deemed “the worst attack on critical infrastructure to date.” 

Lessons Learned

U.S. critical infrastructure has become a popular cyberwarfare target. The weak underbelly has been aging tech and industrial control systems (ICSs) which may lack adequate physical and cyber security.

The problem isn’t a new one, but the number of attacks continue to rise.

Quick Tips

No business is immune from a ransomware attack.

  • Limit administrative privileges.
  • Limit the use of hardware and software to authorized hardware and software. While this may not be possible in all organizations, it is important for critical infrastructure organizations.
  • Monitor system, application, network and user behavior for anomalous activity.
  • Do a thorough cybersecurity assessment that involves white hat penetration testing. Critical infrastructure organizations should check for physical and cyber weaknesses.
  • Fortify the soft spots.
  • Have an incident response plan in place that involves operations, finance, legal, compliance, IT, risk management and communications.
  • Patch software as soon as possible.
  • Train and update the workforce on cyber hygiene.
  • If your company is attacked, engage a firm that specializes in forensics. Contact local and federal law enforcement, as appropriate.

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Pandemic Spurred Identity Fraud; AI and Biometrics Are Responding 




AI and biometrics are being more widely incorporated in new cybersecurity products, as losses from cyberattacks and identity theft increased dramatically in 2020. (Credit: Getty Images) 

By AI Trends Staff 

Cyberattacks and identity fraud losses increased dramatically in 2020 as the pandemic made remote work the norm, setting the stage for AI and biometrics to combine in efforts to attain a higher level of protection. 

One study found banks worldwide saw a 238% jump in cyberattacks between February and April 2020; a study from Javelin Strategy & Research found that identity fraud losses grew to $56 billion last year as fraudsters used stolen personal information to create synthetic identities, according to a recent account from In addition, automated bot attacks shot upward by 100 million between July and December, targeting companies in a range of industries.  

Companies striving for better protection risk making life more difficult for their customers; another study found that 40% of financial institutions frequently mistake the online actions of legitimate customers to those of fraudsters. 

Caleb Callahan, Vice President of Fraud, Stash Financial

“As we look toward the post-pandemic—or, more accurately, inter-pandemic—era, we see just how good fraudsters were at using synthetic identities to defeat manual and semi-manual onboarding processes,” stated Caleb Callahan, Vice President of Fraud at Stash Financial of New York, offering a personal finance app, in an interview with Pymnts. 

SIM Sway Can Create a Synthetic Identity  

One technique for achieving a synthetic identity is a SIM swap, in which someone contacts your wireless carrier and is able to convince the call center employee that they are you, using personal data that may have been exposed in hacks, data breaches or information publicly shared on social networks, according to an account on CNET.  

Once your phone number is assigned to a new card, all of your incoming calls and text messages will be routed to whatever phone the new SIM card is in.  

Identity theft losses were $712.4 billion-plus in 2020, up 42% from 2019, Callahan stated. “To be frank, our defenses are fragmented and too dependent on technologies such as SMS [texting] that were never designed to provide secure services. Banks and all businesses should be looking at how to unify data signals and layer checkpoints in order to keep up with today’s sophisticated fraudsters,” he stated.  

Asked what tools and technologies would help differentiate between fraudsters and legitimate customers, Callahan stated, “in an ideal world, we would have a digital identity infrastructure that banks and others could depend on, but I think that we are some ways away from that right now.”  

Going forward, “The needs of the travel and hospitality, health, education and other sectors might accelerate the evolution of infrastructure for safety and security,” Callahan foresees. 

AI and Biometrics Seen as Offering Security Advantages 

AI can be employed to protect digital identity fraud, such as by offering greater accuracy and speed when it comes to verifying a person’s identity, or by incorporating biometric data so that a cybercriminal would not be able to gain access to information by only providing credentials, according to an account in Forbes. 

Deepak Gupta, Cofounder and CTO, LoginRadius

AI has the power to save the world from digital identity fraud,” stated Deepak Gupta, author of the Forbes article and cofounder and CTO of LoginRadius, a cloud-based consumer identity platform. “In the fight against ID theft, it is already a strong weapon. AI systems are entirely likely to end the reign of the individual hacker.”  

While he sees AI authentication as being in an early phase, Gupta recommended that companies examine the following: the use of intelligent adaptive authentication, such as local and device fingerprint; biometric authentication, based on the face or fingerprints; and smart data filters. “A well-developed AI protection system will have the ability to respond in nanoseconds to close a leak,” he stated. 

Pandemic Altered Consumer Financial Behavior, Spurred Identity Fraud  

The global pandemic has had a dramatic impact on consumer financial behavior. Consumers spent more time at home in 2020, transacted less than in previous years, and relied heavily on streaming services, digital commerce, and payments. They also corresponded more via email and text, for both work and personal life.  

“The pandemic inspired a major shift in how criminals approach fraud,” stated John Buzzard, Lead Analyst, Fraud & Security, with Javelin Strategy & Research in a press release. “Identity fraud has evolved and now reflects the lengths criminals will take to directly target consumers in order to steal their personally identifiable information.” 

Companies made quick adjustments to their business models, such as by increasing remote interactions with borrowers for loan originations and closings, and criminals pounced on new vulnerabilities they discovered. Nearly one-third of identity fraud victims say their financial services providers did not satisfactorily resolve their problems, and 38% of victims closed their accounts because of lack of resolution, the Javelin researchers found.   

“It is clear that financial institutions must continue to proactively and transparently manage fraud as a means to deepen their customer relationships,” stated Eric Kraus, Vice President and General Manager of Fraud, Risk and Compliance, FIS. The company offers technology solutions for merchants, banks, and capital markets firms globally. “Through our continuing business relationships with financial institutions, we know firsthand that consumers are looking to their banks to resolve instances of fraud, regardless of how the fraud occurred,” he added.  

This push from consumers who are becoming increasingly savvy online will lay a foundation for safer digital transactions.  

“Static forms of consumer authentication must be replaced with a modern, standards-based approach that utilizes biometrics,” stated David Henstock, Vice President of Identity Products at Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments. “Businesses benefit from reduced customer friction, lower abandonment rates and fewer chargebacks, while consumers benefit from better fraud prevention and faster payment during checkout.” 

The 2021 Identity Fraud Study from Javelin is now in its 18th year. 

Read the source articles and information from, from CNETin Forbes and in a press release from Javelin Strategy & Research. 

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