What is a Cyber Attack?

A cyber-attack is an attack which attempts to steal information, resources or disrupt the normal operating procedures of a computer system. Cyber-attacks come in many shapes and sizes, hackers can steal your personal identify, get access to millions of customer’s credit card information or shut down a power plant at a local utility. There are many ways a hacker can infiltrate your system; as a user if you click on a phishing email you may unwittingly launch spyware that will track your every keystroke and allow a remote computer to take over your machine. Hackers can also try to brute force your password with 3rd party password cracking tools, if your password is too simple and too short, it’s not a matter of if, but when a hacker could get access.

Phishing attacks and brute forcing personal passwords are cyber-attacks aimed at individuals, but the larger threats are against corporations and governments. Fortune 500 companies know that if one pernicious attack were to occur and the wrong information was stolen it could cause the end of the company. The biggest growth area in information technology spending in corporate America is in cyber security professionals to help protect company networks, programs and data. IT and cyber security job growth is also exploding in the federal government. The US Department of Defense has over 90,000 people working in cyber security in and is looking to hire 20,000+ cyber security employees over the next few years.

Cyber Security Attacks Are Increasing at a Rapid Rate

Cyber-attacks are now taking place throughout the world at an accelerating pace. Recently, the Office of Personnel Management announced that hackers stole social security numbers and other highly sensitive information for more than 21 million people. Sony Pictures had their company and personal emails hacked as well as salary information for the vice presidents and executives. Stuxnet is a rumored US and Israeli computer virus designed to attack the centrifuges used to control machinery critical for the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

When the internet was first launched, it was primarily used by computer engineers, technical people and college students to send email and transmit files. Over the last 30 years the internet is no longer just a fun toy it is an integral part of everyone’s day to day life. Companies rely on the internet to manage: payroll, accounts payable, account receivable, inventory management, manufacturing, hr, sales and just about every business process. The government at the local, state and federal levels has slowly warmed up and started to adopt the internet into many of their daily processes and that is making them more and more susceptible to cyber-attacks every day.

As more corporations and governments have come to rely on the internet, this has left them susceptible to malicious cyber-attacks from hacker groups and nation states that employ hackers to infiltrate countries sensitive computer systems. There is a dire need for cyber security professionals to fill the many white collar openings that are popping up as companies struggle to protect their programs from outside attacks.

How to Become a Cyber Security Specialist

You have been reading the news about all the recent cyber-attacks, you have an interest in computers and you want to embark on a new career as a cyber security professional. Where do you start? There are 2 major paths you can take to further your career in information technology and information security:

  • Take and Pass Cybersecurity Certifications
  • Obtain a Cybersecurity Degree from an Accredited University
  • Do Both

Ideally you get a cybersecurity degree and find the applicable certifications to take and pass. Doing both will give you a leg up on the competition and let you land that dream job in the fastest growing occupation in the United States of America.

Cybersecurity Organizations that Offer Certifications

Certifications are an important part of advancing your career in information technology. Obtaining specific computer knowledge allows you to demonstrate expertise in a computer specialty and your proof is the certificate you earn at the end of the course or test. Corporations often look for certifications on resumes when they are screening for a new job opening, so the more applicable certifications you have the better chance you have of getting hired in a computer security role.

There are many organizations that offer cybersecurity certifications. Here are some of the more popular entities that offer cybersecurity certifications:

CERT – CERT is a division of the Software Engineering Institute and is dedicated to: “Anticipating and Solving the Nation’s Cybersecurity Challenges”.

CERT Training Courses by topic:

  • Incident Handling
  • Network & Software Security
  • Risk Assessment and Insider Threat

Certified Wireless Network Professional (CWNP) – is an industry standard and certification entity for enterprise Wi-Fi.

CWNP Certifications by topic

  • CWTS – Certified Wireless Technology Specialist
  • CWNA – Certified Wireless Network Administrator
  • CWSP – Certified Wireless Security Professional
  • CWDP – Certified Wireless Design Professional
  • CWAP – Certified Wireless Analysis Professional
  • CWNE – Certified Wireless Network Expert
  • CWNT – Certified Wireless Network Instructor

Cisco – The Cisco cybersecurity specialist certifications are available for industry professionals that are well versed in Cisco and other network security products.

Cisco certifications by area:

  • Entry Certifications – for people looking to get started with a career as a network professional.
    • CCENT
    • CCT
  • Associate Certifications – useful for people that are involved in network build outs, monitoring and troubleshooting.
    • CCDA
    • CCNA Cloud
    • CCNA Collaboration
    • CCNA Data Center
    • CCNA Industrial
    • CCNA Routing and Switching
    • CCNA Security
    • CCNA Service Provider
    • CCNA Wireless
  • Professional Certifications – The next step up from associate certifications, these are used to establish proficiency and increased networking skills.
    • CCDP
    • CCNP Cloud
    • CCNP Collaboration
    • CCNP Data Center
    • CCNP Routing and Switching
    • CCNP Security
    • CCNP Wireless
  • Expert Certifications – Networking certifications that are widely known to the be the gold standard for networking certifications.
    • CCDE
    • CCIE Collaboration
    • CCIE Data Center
    • CCIE Routing and Switching
    • CCIE Service Provider
    • CCIE Wireless
  • Architect Certification – highest level of networking certification offered by Cisco and intended for people with a mastery of networking protocols.
    • CCAr

Comp TIA – there are many different certifications series that cover programming, networking, security, social media and many other topics.

Comp TIA Certifications:

  • CompTIA IT Fundamentals
  • CompTIA A+
  • CompTIA Cloud+
  • CompTIA Linux
  • CompTIA Mobility
  • CompTIA Network+
  • CompTIA Project+
  • CompTIA Security+
  • CompTIA Storage+
  • CompTIA Server+
  • CompTIA CASP
  • CompTIA CDIA
  • CompTIA CTT+
  • CompTIA Cloud Essentials
  • CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician
  • Social Media Security Professional

DRI International – Disaster Recovery International is a not for profit that provides education and preparation training for companies and governments that want to learn more about disaster recovery.

DRI Certification:

  • Continuity
    • BCLE 2000: Business Continuity
    • BCP 501: Business Continuity Review
  • Advanced Continuity
    • Continuity Master’s Case Review (BCP 601)
  • Risk Management
    • Risk Management (RMLE 2000)
  • Audit
    • BCLE AUD NFPA: Continuity Audit NFPA 1600
    • BCLE AUD ISO: Continuity Audit: ISO 22301
  • Healthcare Continuity
    • Healthcare Continuity (HCLE 2000)
    • Healthcare Continuity Review (HCP 501)
  • Public Sector
    • Public Sector Continuity (GCLE 2000)
    • Public Sector Continuity Review (GCP 501)

EC Council – certify individuals in hacking, security administration, networking, incident handling, penetration testing and much more.

EC Council Certifications:

  • Certified Ethical Hacker
  • EC-Council Certified Security Analyst
  • Licensed Penetration Tester
  • EC-Council Certification Website
  • Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator
  • Certified Chief Information Security Officer
  • EC-Council Network Security Administrator
  • EC-Council Certified Incident Handler
  • EC-Council Disaster Recovery Professional
  • Certified Secure Computer User
  • Certified Network Defense Architect
  • EC-Council Certified Security Specialist
  • EC-Council Certified Secure Programmer
  • EC-Council Certified VoIP Professional
  • EC-Council Certified Encryption Specialist
  • EC-Council Continuing Education
  • Certificate Series Education
  • iBusiness Certifications

Global Information Assurance Certification – GIAC is a top provider and creator of cyber security certifications that are used by companies, government and military organizations to assess the skills of their employees.

GIAC Certifications:

  • Security Administration
    • GIAC: Security Essentials
    • GCIH: GIAC Certified Incident Handler
    • GCIA: GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst
    • GPEN: GIAC Penetration Tester
    • GWAPT: GIAC Web Application Penetration Tester
    • GPPA: GIAC Certified Perimeter Protection Analyst
    • GCWN: GIAC Certified Windows Security Administrator
    • GISF: GIAC Information Security Fundamentals
    • GCED: GIAC Certified Enterprise Defender
    • GAWN: GIAC Assessing and Auditing Wireless Networks
    • GCUX: GIAC Certified UNIX Security Administrator
    • GICSP: Global Industrial Cyber Security Professional
    • GXPN: GIAC Exploit Researcher and Advanced Penetration Tester
    • GMOB: GIAC Mobile Device Security Analyst
    • GCCC: GIAC Critical Controls Certification
    • GMON: GIAC Continuous Monitoring Certification
    • GPYC: GIAC Python Coder
  • Forensics
    • GCFA: GIAC Certified Forensic Analyst
    • GCFE: GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner
    • GREM: GIAC Reverse Engineering Malware
    • GNFA: GIAC Network Forensic Analyst
  • Management
    • GSLC: GIAC Security Leadership
    • GISP: GIAC Information Security Professional
    • GCPM: GIAC Certified Project Manager
  • Audit
    • GSNA: GIAC Systems and Network Auditor
  • Software Security
    • GSSP-JAVA: GIAC Secure Software Progammer-Java
    • GWEB: GIAC Certified Web Application Defender
    • GSSP-.NET: GIAC Secure Software Programmer-.NET
  • Legal
    • GLEG: GIAC Law of Data Security & Investigations
  • GSE
    • GIAC: Security Expert

Information Assurance Certification Review Board – IACRB an industry standard setting organized created by security professionals tasked with the primary mission of offering information security certifications.

IACRB Certifications:

  • CPT – Penetration Tester/Ethical Hacker
  • CEPT – Expert Penetration Tester/Exploit Developer
  • CASS – Application Security Specialist
  • CREA – Reverse Engineer
  • CSSA – SCAA Security Analyst
  • CDRP – Data Recovery Professional
  • CCFE – Certified Computer Forensics Examiner
  • CREA – Certified Reverse Engineering Analyst
  • CEREA – Certified Expert Reverse Engineering Analyst

Information System Security Certification Consortium – The (ISC)^2 is a global not for profit leader in certifications for cyber security, information software and infrastructure for professionals working in companies, governments and educational institutions.

ISC Certifications:

  • Associate of (ISC)²
  • CAP – Certified Authorization Professional
  • CCFP – Certified Cyber Forensics Professional
  • CCSP – Certified Cloud Security Professional
  • CISSP® – Certified Information Systems Security Professional
  • CSSLP – Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional
  • HCISPP® – HealthCare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner
  • SSCP® – Systems Security Certified Practitioner

Infotec – Infotec offers a multitude of information technology training covering network, security, programming and database vendors.

InfoTec Courses:

  • E-Learning
    • Business Skills
    • Cisco
    • CompTIA
    • Crystal Reports
    • Graphic Design
    • IT Foundation Builders
    • Leadership and Management
    • Medical
    • Microsoft Access
    • Microsoft Client
    • Microsoft Developer
    • Microsoft Excel
    • Microsoft Exchange
    • Microsoft Office
    • Microsoft Outlook
    • Microsoft Powerpoint
    • Microsoft Project
    • Microsoft Sharepoint
    • Microsoft SQL
    • Microsoft Windows Server
    • Microsoft Word
    • Personal Productivity
    • Project Management
    • Web Development
    • Wireless
    • Security
  • Instructor Led
    • Business Skills
    • Cisco
    • Citrix
    • CompTIA
    • Crystal Reports
    • Fiber Optics
    • Graphic Design
    • ITIL
    • Leadership and Management
    • Medical
    • Microsoft Access
    • Microsoft Client
    • Microsoft Cloud and Virtualization
    • Microsoft Developer
    • Microsoft Dynamics
    • Microsoft Excel
    • Microsoft Exchange
    • Microsoft Lync
    • Microsoft Office
    • Microsoft Outlook
    • Microsoft Powerpoint
    • Microsoft Project
    • Microsoft Sharepoint
    • Microsoft SQL
    • Microsoft System Center
    • Microsoft Visio
    • Microsoft Windows Server
    • Microsoft Word
    • Personal Productivity
    • Oracle
    • Project Management
    • Red Hat
    • Web Development
    • Wireless
    • Security
    • VMWare
  • Virtual
    • Cisco
    • Citrix
    • CompTIA
    • Juniper
    • NETAPP
    • Red Hat

Information Systems Audit and Control Association – ISACA is a non-profit worldwide organization that provides guidance and education for companies that use information technology.

ISACA Certifications:

  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) – the ideal certification for individuals who are actively involved in auditing the computer and technology systems and processes of public and private companies
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) – global standard for people who help architect, protect and maintain enterprise security programs
  • Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT) – assesses your ability to understand important issues around governance and strategic alignment for enterprise IT issues.
  • Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) – the see risk certification connects IT risk management to overall enterprise risk management.
  • Cybersecurity Nexus – CSX Certificate and CSX-P Certification (CSX) – a CSX certification is available to individuals that want to demonstrate their cyber security skills and their knowledge of the most recent standards.

Learning Tree International – instruction and training across many different disciplines including: big data, agile software development, cloud computing, communications, mobile app development and much more.

Learning Tree Certifications:

  • Learning Tree Certifications
    • Activity Based Intelligence (ABI)
    • Agile and Software Developmetn
    • Big Data and Hadoop
    • Business Analysis
    • Cloud Computing
    • Communication
    • Cyber Security
    • Java Programming
    • Linux and UNIX
    • Management and Leadership
    • Microsoft Excel
    • Mobile App Development
    • .NET/Visual Studio Develoment
    • Networking and Virtualization
    • Oracle 12c
    • Project Management
    • SharePoint 2013
    • SQL Server
    • Web Development
    • Windows Systems
  • Industry Certifications
    • PMI Certification
    • IIBA Certification
    • ITIL and COBIT Certifications
    • ITIL Certification Success Package
    • PRINCE2 Certification
    • CompTIA Certification
    • EC-Council CEH Certification
    • College Credit
    • Scrum Alliance Certification
    • SFIA Accredited Consultant

McAfee Institute – the McAfee Institute offers online courses, networking with industry professionals and board certifications, geared towards people involved in loss prevention, law enforcement, investigations and intelligence.

McAfee Courses:

  • Mobile App Investigations
  • Certified Social Media Intelligence Expert (CSMIE)
  • Executive Leadership MicroDegree
  • Certified Counter-Intelligence Threat Analyst (CCTA)
  • Certified Social Media Intelligence Analyst (SMIA)
  • Certified Cyber Investigative Expert (CCIE)
  • Certified Cyber Intelligence Professional (CCIP)
  • Cyber Investigation and Intelligence MicroDegree
  • Certified Cyber Intelligence Investigator (CCII)
  • Certified Cyber Threat Forensic Investigator (CTFI)
  • Certified eCommerce Fraud Investigator (CEFI)
  • Certified Organized Retail Crime Investigator (CORCI)
  • Certified Human Trafficking Investigator (CHTI)
  • Certified Workplace Violence and Threat Specialist (WVTS)
  • Cyber Threat Forensic Investigation MicroDegree
  • Organized Retail Crime Investigation MicroDegree
  • Counter-Intelligence & Threat Management MicroDegree
  • Certified Forensic HiTech Investigator (CFHI)
  • Advanced Social Media Intelligence Gathering
  • Advanced eCommerce Investigations and Intelligence Gathering (AEI)
  • How to work with Informants in Retail Loss Prevention
  • Investigations on the Deep Web (TOR)
  • Investigative Interviewing Methodologies
  • Investigative Interviews: Investigations, Fact Gathering and Prep
  • Learn How to Conduct Digital & Mobile Forensics
  • Learn how to Identify, Investigate, & Prosecute Hackers!
  • Online Classified Investigation and Intelligence Gathering
  • Social Media Investigations Methodologies
  • The Legal Fundamentals of Cyber Investigations
  • The Top 20 Intelligence Resources on the Net
  • Twitter Investigation Methodologies
  • Auction Fraud Investigation Methodologies
  • Learn all about Risk Management & How to be Effective!
  • Introduction to Cyber Crime For Finance
  • Investigative Interviewing: Supporting the Organizations Needs
  • Investigative Interviewing: Wrapping up the Investigation
  • Investigative Interviews: Learning How to Connect
  • Learn the A-Z’s of Cyber Counter-Intelligence
  • eCommerce Fraud: Credit Cards and Payment Processing
  • The In’s and Out’s of a Data Breach
  • An Exploration into Hacking 101
  • Becoming an Expert Witness
  • Counterintelligence Methods
  • Digital & Computer Forensics
  • Introduction to Cyber Warfare
  • Certified Cyber Intel Investigator (CCII) (Exam)
  • Certified Threat Forensic Investigator (CTFI) (Exam)
  • Certified Counter Intelligence Analyst (CCTA) (Exam)
  • Social Media Intelligence Analyst (SMIA) (Exam)
  • Certified eCommerce Fraud Investigator (CEFI) (Exam)
  • Certified Human Trafficking Investigator (CHTI) (Exam)
  • Certified ORC Investigator (CORCI) (Exam)
  • Certified Cyber Intell Professional (CCIP) (Exam)
  • Workplace Violence & Threat Specialist (WVTS) (Exam)
  • Certified Cyber Investigative Expert (CCIE) (Exam)
  • Certified Forensics Hi-Tech Investigator (CFHI) (Exam)
  • Qualified Cyber Intelligence Investigator (Q|CII)
  • Qualified Counter-Intelligence Threat Analyst (Q|CTA)
  • Qualified Social Media Intelligence Analyst (Q|SMIA)
  • Qualified Cyber Intelligence Professional (Q|CIP)
  • Qualified eCommerce Fraud Investigator (Q|EFI)
  • Qualified Human Trafficking Investigator (Q|HTI)
  • Qualified Cyber Investigative Expert (Q|CIE)
  • Qualified Cyber Threat Forensic Investigator (Q|CTFI)
  • Qualified Organized Retail Crime Investigator (Q|ORCI)
  • Qualified Workplace Violence and Threat Specialist (Q|WVTS)
  • Qualified Forensics Hi-Tech Investigator (Q|FHI)
  • Social Media Intelligence and Investigations MicroDegree

Mile2 Cyber Security Certifications – Mile 2 develops professional cyber security certifications and teaches courses that cover attack and penetration testing, disaster recovery, network forensics and many more topics.

Mile2 Cyber Security Certifications:

  • IS Management Leadership
  • Penetration Testing Hacking
  • Incident Handling
  • Forensics
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Wireless Security
  • Healthcare
  • Auditing
  • Application & Secure Code
  • Virtual Machine
  • IS Management Electives

Security University – leading provider of cyber security testing, education, training for security professionals throughout the world.

Security University Certifications:

  • Q/ISP – Qualified Information Security Professional Certificate of Master CoM nondegree
    • Q/SA® Qualified/ Security Analyst / Q/PTL® Qualified/ Penetration Tester License Certification Training Class
    • Q/EH® Qualified/ Ethical Hacker Certification Training Class CNSS 4011/ 4012
    • Q/FE® Qualified/ Forensic Expert Certification Training Class CNSS 4011/ 4012/ 4013/4015 /4016
    • Q/ND® Qualified/ Network Defender Certification Training Class CNSS 4011/ 4012/ 4013/ 4015/ 4016A
  • Q/IAP® Qualified/ Information Assurance Professional Certificate of Mastery CoM
    • Q/AAP® Qualified/ Access, Authentication & PKI Professional Certification Training Class
    • Q/NSP® Qualified/ Network Security Policy Admin + Services Oriented Architect (SOA) Certification Training Class
    • Q/CA® Qualified/ Certification and Accreditation Process Certification Training Class CNSS 4011/ 4012/ 4105/ 4016A
  • 8570 Certification Training Classes
    • (ISC)²® CISSP® Prep Class & Exam Certification Training Class CNSS 4011, 4012
    • SSCP Systems Security Certified Practitioner Certification Training Class
    • Security + Certification Training Class
  • Q/WP™ Wireless Certifications Certificate of Mastery CoM 
    • Q/WP™ Qualified/Wireless Professional / CWNA Certified Wireless Network Administrator Certification Training Class
    • Q/WSP™ Qualified/ Wireless Security Professional Certification Training Class / CWSP Certified Wireless Security Professional Certification Training Class
    • Q/WNA™/Q/WSP™ Bootcamp Certified Wireless Network and Security Professional Bootcamp Certification Training Class
    • Q/WAD® Qualified/ Wireless Analyst & Defender
  • Q/SSE® Qualified/ Software Security Expert Certificate of Mastery CoM
    • Qualified SW Security Expert 5-Day Bootcamp Certification Training Class
    • Qualified SW Security Penetration Testing Certification Training Class
    • Qualified SW Testing Bootcamp (in-house only) Certification Training Class
    • How to Break Web Security Certification Training Class
    • How to Break Software Code Certification Training Class
    • Fundamentals of Secure Software Programming Certification Training Class
    • Qualified SW Security Hacker Certification Training Class
    • Qualified SW Security Testing Best Practices Certification Training Class
    • Introduction to Reverse Engineering Certification Training Class

American Board for Certification in Homeland Security – The ABCHS represents a large number of professionals including active and retired military, law enforcement, security experts, first responders and people responsible for defending the United States of America.

ABCHS Certifications:

  • Sensitive Security Information, Certified®
  • Certified in Disaster Preparedness, CDP-I®
  • Certified in Homeland Security, CHS® Level I
  • Certified in Homeland Security, CHS® Level II
  • Certified in Homeland Security, CHS® Level III
  • Certified in Homeland Security, CHS® Level IV
  • Certified in Homeland Security, CHS® Level V
  • The Intelligence Analyst Certified, IAC®
  • Certified Master Chaplain, CMC
  • Certified National Threat Analyst, CNTA®
  • Certified Homeland Security Emergency Medical Response, CHSEMR
  • Certified Aviation Security Professional, CASP
  • Certified in Cyber Warfare, CW TTP’s I
  • Certified in Dignitary and Executive Protection, CDEP
  • Certified in Information Assurance, CIA

How to Get a Cyber Security Degree

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said: “The Pentagon is desperately short of people who have capabilities (defensive and offensive cyber security war skills and it must be addressed”. You can tell from this quote that the federal government is taking cyber security seriously and colleges all over are rolling out cyber security degrees to keep up with the demand.

Do you really need a degree to get a job in cyber security? The short answer is not necessarily, through your work experience and certifications you may be fine, but it will help tremendously when you end up applying for an open position. Not only is the federal government looking for people with cyber security degrees, but companies in Finance, Oil and Gas, Pharmaceuticals, Retail and Security are aggressively looking for qualified individuals. The 2015 Burning Glass report on Cybsersecurity jobs really highlights the explosion of cybsersecurity careers, “Job postings for cybersecurity openings have grown three times as fast as openings for IT jobs overall over all and it takes companies longer to fill cybersecurity positions than other IT jobs. That’s bad for employers but good news for cybersecurity workers, who can command an average salary premium of nearly $6,500 per year, or 9% more than other IT workers.”

What is a Cyber Security Degree?

You can get either a 2 year or 4 year cyber security degree and some of the courses you can expect to take are: system security, software engineering, operating system security, intrusion detection, cyber forensics and information security to name a few. Most importantly you will learn how to protect and defend information systems, by understanding and testing their security, integrity and architecture.

With a 4 year program, here are some example degrees that you can obtain: a bachelor of science in cybersecurity management and policy, bachelor of science in computer networks and cybersecurity and a bachelor of science in software development and security. You will want to plan your career path out before you end up choose your major. For example if you know what you get into a programming position you will want to go down the software development security track as opposed to pursuing a degree in management and policy. It’s important you think about your track, because the your future employer will want to know your classes and experience level and try to match that up with the position they are hiring for.

Funding and job growth are increasing dramatically across corporate America, the 2015 PwC Cybercrime Survey had the following, “Nearly half (45%) of respondents said they increased information security spending over the year before. Respondents also indicated that industries that have been impacted by high-profile cyberattacks – including retail and consumer products, banking and finance, healthcare, and government – were more likely to have significantly boosted information security investments.”

Cyber Security Degree vs a Computer Science Degree

Should you get a cyber security degree or a computer science degree? Computer science degrees will generally involve more computer programming classes than a cyber security degree. If you are looking to become a penetration tester, then a computer science degree would be the way to go s you will get a deeper understanding of operating system and software security protocols. If you don’t enjoy the hard core programming classes, but you have strong interest in security, then the cybersecurity track would be your best choice.

Accredited Cybersecurity Schools by the NSA and CSS

The National Security Agency and the Central Security Service jointly designated 44 higher education institutions as National Centers of Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense. This designation was determined based on a review of their respective cyber security courses and the academic rigors and standards of the schools under review.

If you are looking for a reputable school to attend for your cyber security education, these institutions are a great place to start.

2 Year Education

  • Prince George’s Community College Maryland

4 Year Education

  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona California
  • California State University, San Bernardino California
  • Carnegie Mellon University Pennsylvania
  • George Mason University Virginia
  • Iowa State University Iowa
  • Mississippi State University Mississippi
  • Rochester Institute of Technology New York
  • Southern Methodist University Texas
  • Syracuse University New York
  • The Pennsylvania State University Pennsylvania
  • The University of Arizona, Tucson Arizona
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio Texas
  • Towson University Maryland
  • University of Buffalo, the State University of New York New York
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County Maryland
  • University of Maryland University College Maryland
  • University of Memphis Tennessee
  • University of Texas at Dallas Texas
  • Utica College (Newly designated CAE) New York
  • West Virginia University West Virginia


  • Boston University  Massachusetts
  • Carnegie Mellon University Pennsylvania
  • Dartmouth University New Hampshire
  • Florida Atlantic University Florida
  • Florida Institute of Technology Florida
  • George Mason University Virginia
  • Georgia Institute of Technology Georgia
  • Iowa State University Iowa
  • Kansas State University Kansas
  • Mississippi State University Mississippi
  • Naval Postgraduate School California
  • New York University New York
  • North Carolina State University North Carolina
  • Northeastern University Massachusetts
  • Princeton University New Jersey
  • Purdue University Indiana
  • Stevens Institute of Technology New Jersey
  • Syracuse University New York
  • The George Washington University Washington, DC
  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham Alabama
  • University at Buffalo, the State University of New York New York
  • University of Arkansas Arkansas
  • University of California, Davis California
  • University of Connecticut Connecticut
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County Maryland
  • University of Maryland College Park Maryland
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte North Carolina
  • University of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
  • University of Texas at Dallas Texas
  • Virginia Polytechnic and State University Virginia
  • West Virginia University West Virginia
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute Massachusetts

What is the Ponemon Institute?

The Ponemon Institute was founded by Dr. Larry Ponemon as a research center dedicated to privacy, data protection and information assurance. The Ponemon Institute issues thought leadership and industry assessments focused on cyber security threats and data security. The 2014 Best Schools for Cybersecurity was published in 2014 and sponsored by HP Enterprise Security.

Ponemon’s Top 10 Characteristics to Look for When Assessing a Cyber Security School

  • Interdisciplinary program that cuts across different, but related fields – especially computer science, engineering and management.
  • Designated by the NSA and DHS as a center of academic excellence in information assurance education.
  • Curriculum addresses both technical and theoretical issues in cybersecurity.
  • Both undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered.
  • A diverse student body, offering educational opportunities to women and members of the military.
  • Faculty composed of leading practitioners and researchers in the field of cybersecurity and information assurance.
  • Hands-on learning environment where students and faculty work together on projects that address real life cybersecurity threats.
  • Emphasis on career and professional advancement.
  • Courses on management, information security policy and other related topics essential to the effective governance of secure information systems.
  • Graduates of programs are placed in private and public sector positions.

Top Rated Ponemon Schools

  • University of Texas, San Antonio
  • Norwich University
  • Mississippi State University
  • Syracuse University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Purdue University
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • George Mason University
  • West Chester University of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. Military Academy, West Point
  • University of Washington

Cyber Security Internships

Cyber Summer Program (FORT MEADE, MARYLAND) – The NSA’s outreach effort to find top notch undergrad and masters students involved in programming, engineering, math and cybersecurity programs.

US Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Internship Program (WASHINGTON DC) – The program is 10 weeks in Washington DC and the approximate salary is $5,800. You must be a US citizen, obtain a security clearance, be enrolled in a bachelor or masters degree program, have strong written communication and leadership skills.

National Space Club Scholars Summer Program (GREENBELT, MARYLAND) – interns are paired up with mentors to work on science, tech, math and engineering projects.