Study cyber security at OU

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published August 2, 2016

ROCHESTER HILLS — The hot topic of cyber security will be explored at Oakland University via a new two-year master’s degree program.

“Cyber security is a very big issue,” said Huirong Fu, an OU professor and coordinator of the new Master of Science in cyber security program. Students in the new program will learn to “determine the vulnerability in any system and how to defend it,” she said. 

The all-inclusive nature of modern technology makes the subject crucial, said Louay Chamra, a professor and dean of OU’s School of Engineering and Computer Science.

“Cyber security (is needed) in every industry — with the internet of things, the power grid, finances and protecting our day-to-day life,” Chamra said. “Technology affects every aspect of our lives. Everything that is connected to the internet is vulnerable. Our personal data must be protected. We need more experts in this area — we need to increase the talent pool.”

According to Norton Internet Security officials, an estimated 71 million people in the country were cybercrime victims in 2011, at a cost of $110 billion.

The new program is the first of its kind in the state and has been in development for the past three years, said Chamra.

“We developed a curriculum and set up a committee,” he said. “Getting through the approval process was the hardest part.”

The program is designed to provide a strong foundation and detailed technical knowledge in information security, computer security, network security and software security, as well as an appreciation of the social, political, ethical and legal aspects of security and privacy.

“No computer is safe unless it is unconnected from the internet,” said Lunjin Lu, OU Department of Engineering and Computer Science and chair. “The program was developed in response to industry.” 

A mobile security course within the new master’s program will build secure systems that are sure to be safe, “based on rigorous foundations,” Lu said.

Two tracks are offered within the master’s program — a research track and a professional track in collaboration with Oakland’s School of Business Administration. “As industry evolves, technology evolves,” Chamra said.

Ahmad Mansour, of Auburn Hills, is currently completing an OU doctorate program in computer security.

“Security is needed everywhere around us,” Mansour said. “A master’s degree in this area is something great.”

The new master’s program joins the new Center in Cyber Security program that began in April,  as well as free summer camps for young students in grades four through 12 and the CyberOU club. 

“To protect the house, you have to know the ways you can break into the house,” said Gabrielle Beck, of Westland, who attended a 10-week cyber security session at OU. 

The application deadline for the fall Master of Science in Cyber Security program is Aug. 15. For more information, visit www.oakland.edu.