University of South Florida

Muma College of Business

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image of cybersecurity course for state employees

Photo illustration by Micaela Ibarcena Woll, intern

USF business professors develop statewide training to boost cyberattack preparedness

TAMPA – The University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business has launched several free, online cybersecurity training courses to train Florida’s public sector employees on how to spot phishing scams, counter ransomware attacks, and protect sensitive information from cybercriminals.

The new courses are part of a statewide push to boost cyberattack preparedness and provide cybersecurity training for state and local government workers under the CyberSecureFlorida Training Initiative.

“Cybersecurity is the biggest threat that any agency with data is facing. We are addressing a real need for state employees that will make Florida more secure,” said Shivendu Shivendu, an associate professor in the School of Information Systems and Management. “For me, this initiative is exciting, and we are playing an important role in this task.”

Last spring, the Muma College of Business received a $5.65 million grant from Cyber Florida to develop courses to train state and local leaders on cybersecurity management and awareness.

Registration is now open at the Cyber Florida’s course catalog. Training is open to state and local government employees who work in executive, managerial, technical and general staff roles.

The team developed four online cybersecurity training courses, each tailored to the unique challenges facing government workers. The training includes real-world scenarios, case studies and potential responses.

image of varol kayhan

Varol Kayhan, an associate professor who helped design the course content, said about 100 new people each day register for the courses, with almost all learners completing the four-hour, self-paced course within two weeks.

The topics covered address some of the most common cyberattack tactics – phishing scams, ransomware attacks and social engineering.

“That is what we are seeing over and over again. You can’t over-emphasize these things. It’s applicable across every state and local department and agency,” Kayhan said.

The goal is to train at least 10,000 state and local government workers in cybersecurity, he said.

The four USF-developed courses include:

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