Information Security and Forensics Program offered online

Protecting information and cyberspace is vital to homeland security in today's interconnected world, and working professionals will learn how to do just that in a Penn State online master's degree program.

Facebook's leaking of personally identifiable user information to advertisers through some of its popular applications is just the latest sign of the vulnerability of information in the age of social networking. To help address this and other emerging security risks, Penn State is offering an Information Security and Forensics Program that provides learners with the knowledge and skills to protect sensitive information and to determine the causes of security breaches. The program is part of Penn State's Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security degree and is delivered entirely online.

"Identity theft is a growing problem that is difficult to detect and prevent," said Chao-Hsien Chu, Penn State professor of information sciences and technology in the College of Information Sciences and Technology and lead faculty for the Information Security and Forensics master's degree option. "People are using social networks like Facebook to steal important information and spread viruses."

Penn State's 33-credit Information Security and Forensics Program is designed for people already working in information technology (IT)-related fields or who want to change careers.

In addition to understanding identity theft, phishing and other IT risks, the program covers protecting privacy issues; information, network and Web security; and how to investigate security breaches. "Forensics is an area that is growing very quickly," Chu said. "Students learn how to conduct an investigation and trace back to the causes of an attack. Once you know the cause of an attack, you can prevent future attacks.

"The four prescribed courses in the program provide students with a solid understanding of the technical side of these issues, as well as the managerial and policy aspects of information security," Chu said. Students also choose three elective courses to complete the option.

The program meets the National Training Standards for Information Systems Security (INFOSEC) Professionals (NSTISSI No. 4011) developed by the Committee on National Security Systems (CNSS) and National Security Agency (NSA) and can help students attain industry-recognized Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification.

Class lectures are streamed live and students also participate in a hands-on virtual lab, where they can practice, among other things, penetrating a virtual computer and defending against an attack.

"Students get a combination of a good understanding of the technical side of information security and forensics, as well as the managerial and policy issues involved in homeland security and cybersecurity," Chu said.

To learn more about the Information Security and Forensics Program, visit http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/InformationSecurity online.

Penn State World Campus specializes in adult online education, delivering more than 70 of Penn State's most highly regarded graduate, undergraduate and professional education programs through convenient online formats. Founded in 1998, Penn State World Campus is the University's 25th campus serving more than 9,600 students in all 50 states and 62 countries. For more information, visit http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/ online. Penn State World Campus is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 114 countries worldwide.

Contacts: 
Last Updated November 29, 2010