CyberAware Podcast


Join student hosts Raj and Sherwin to learn cybersecurity tips, stay up to date with cybersecurity news, hear from special guests, and more in this new series!

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(Episode 6, click above to listen)

In this episode of the CyberAware Podcast, host Sherwin discusses with guest speaker Nate Johnson the topic of research and cybersecurity vulnerabilities.  Nate is a penetration tester and is a co-host for another podcast series on YouTube called the Irongeek Cast.

Nate delves into his undergraduate research topic, which was proximity radio frequency identification (RFID) in card reader lock systems. For example, the technology that is used with Mav Cards. He also researched the security flaws and the encryption within card reader lock systems using open source coding. Nate then lays out a comparison between RFID and NFC (Near Field Communication) and how variable band frequencies play a major role in these systems. Nate also shares with Sherwin his study abroad experience in the Netherlands and how NFC is very common there, ranging from identification to payments at almost every location. Nate moves on to talk more about his current research, giving insight on security tactics used to prevent physical bypass on RFID and NFC card reader lock systems. Nate illustrates his experience as a penetration tester and he sheds more light on faculty and student research on cybersecurity.

Interestingly, Nate and Sherwin then pivot the conversation to discuss the latest Pentagon speculated UFO sightings and go on to imagine the security methods that could have been used to evade radar spotters. Nate then shares his public presentation experience in front of industry professionals, explaining how having expertise in recent advancements can even sometimes give you an edge over someone who has decades of experience in the industry. Finally, he suggests to incoming students some important coursework for pursuing cybersecurity from a Minnesota State University, Mankato alumni’s point of view.

(Episode 5, click above to listen)

In this episode of the CyberAware Podcast, our hosts, Raj and Sherwin, discuss the topic of cyberpunks with special guest Mubasser Kamal. Mubasser graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2018 with a master’s degree in information technology. He currently works for a penetration testing company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a security consultant. This podcast is all about cyberpunks, which are individuals that engage in cybertheft and other malicious criminal activities in the cyberworld.  

The first major example the group discusses is phishing, including the upsurge in text message phishing and the number of victims during the COVID-19 pandemic. They provide insights into common infrastructure vulnerabilities that allow attackers to compromise accounts and systems. The group also elaborates on “penetration testing,” also known as ethical hacking, which is an authorized simulated cyberattack on a computer system. This is performed to evaluate the security of systems and infrastructure, like mobile and web applications. Another topic discussed is the existence of hackers implemented and sponsored by governments and corporations around the world to conduct cyberattacks. These hackers have high-end targets and may bait and use innocent people as passive cyberpunks. Raj, Sherwin, and Mubasser also give some easy tips to stay cybersecure, including double-checking links, checking the validity of emails, texts, or calls, and securing home Wi-Fi networks by performing regular firmware updates on devices like routers. Finally, the group talks through a typical day in the life of an information security analyst and the tasks they perform. 

(Episode 4, click to listen above)

In this episode of the CyberAware Podcast, Raj and Sherwin speak with special guest Michael Menne, the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Minnesota State University, Mankato. With 28 years of experience in IT, Michael shares his thoughts on cybersecurity and how things have changed throughout the years. Michael gives insight into what his job as a CISO entails, how organizations assess security risks, and how students can pursue a career as a CISO. The group also discusses other frequently asked questions, including how IT Solutions and the security team reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the second half of the podcast, Raj, Sherwin, and Michael discuss what it means to outsource security services and how outsourcing can impact higher education organizations specifically. The group also chats about the process of implementing new technology to enhance cybersecurity, and the pros and cons of spending University resources on these projects. Lastly, Michael shares his thoughts on security regarding the Internet of things and smart devices, like smart speakers. The group ends with a few quick tips on how to stay up to date with current cybersecurity issues, including following the newsfeed on our CyberAware website or contacting Michael Menne.

(Episode 3, click to listen above)

In this episode of the CyberAware Podcast, our hosts, Raj and Sherwin, discuss cybersecurity awareness during COVID-19. Mike Hedlund, the President of the Information Security Student Organization (ISSO) at Minnesota State University, Mankato, joins Sherwin and Raj to share his thoughts on vulnerabilities that have heightened due to COVID-19. Together, they delve into the topics of browser extensions, phishing and scams related to COVID-19, and the recent transition to online working, teaching, and learning. Mike shares his personal experiences and gives advice on how to keep up with work and school online.

In the second half of the podcast, the group shares their thoughts on certifications in the information security industry. They also chat about ISSO’s experience at the 2020 Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition in Alexandria, Minnesota. Mike shares his team’s experience in competing in the hypothetical scenario to correct vulnerabilities in systems at risk of being breached. The group wraps up the podcast with a quick discussion on ISSO’s future ideas for hosting information security events, like hackathons, and how COVID-19 has affected their plans.

(Episode 2, click to listen above)

In this episode of the CyberAware Podcast, our hosts, Raj and Sherwin, explore the topics of passwords and device protection – two more of the Four P’s of cybersecurity. Brad Ammerman, an adjunct professor in Computer Information Science at Minnesota State University, Mankato, joins Sherwin and Raj to talk about best password tips and how to keep your devices safe. The group discusses common password mistakes, how to create strong passwords, how data breaches happen, and how to manage your passwords. Brad touches on important security techniques, like two factor authentication and password managers.

In the second half of the podcast, Raj and Sherwin transition into the topic of device protection with a discussion on how IT Solutions manages devices in order to keep the University safe. Brad lists several options for work and personal device privacy and protection, such as privacy screens and webcam covers. The group discusses common security vulnerabilities, the pros and cons of antivirus software, and how to securely transfer data. Lastly, Brad discusses his experience working remotely and how the transition to online has affected society.

(Episode 1, click to listen above)

In this first episode of the CyberAware Podcast, our hosts, Raj and Sherwin, delve into the world of cybersecurity to uncover the basics of phishing and patching – two of the Four P’s of cybersecurity. Dr. Veltsos, a professor in Computer Information Science at Minnesota State University, Mankato, joins Sherwin and Raj to discuss phishing attacks in the current COVID-19 climate. They share helpful tips on how to spot phishing messages, how to avoid falling victim to them, and how to report them. Dr. Veltsos also answers cybersecurity questions frequently asked by students and staff and shares his best advice on how to get involved with cybersecurity in everyday life.

During the second half of the podcast, the group discusses the importance of patching your devices, or keeping software and firmware up to date. Sherwin, Raj, and Dr. Veltsos address how updating devices on a regular basis can help increase security and reduce the risk of a cyberattack. Lastly, helpful tips on staying safe while working and learning from home, including how to be secure while using remote desktop capabilities and how to avoid Zoom-bombing, are shared. The group wraps up the podcast with a final discussion on how the transition to online learning has affected students and professors.

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Resources From Dr. Veltsos

Domain Name Service (DNS) is like a phone book for the internet, linking millions of website names to their corresponding address.  Your internet service provider usually will provide a default DNS for you, Open DNS differs by providing the same fundamental service with some special features to promote security and privacy. 

DNS configuration for Windows    DNS configuration for Mac

Free and Low Cost Online Cybersecurity Learning Content
Stay secure, avoid covid-19 cyberattacks

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