University of South Florida

Muma College of Business

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Photos by Elizabeth L. Brown/USF Muma College of Business

USF and KnowBe4 announce free Cyber Resiliency Certificate Program for business students

TAMPA – USF Muma College of Business students have a new tool to become more cybersecurity aware and not get hacked. 
In partnership with KnowBe4, a Tampa-based cybersecurity firm, college leaders announced on Tuesday the launch of a free Cyber Resiliency Certificate Program open to all business students at all levels.  
The certificate program is a self-paced class that teaches the fundamentals of cyber safety in the workplace. The 15-hour course takes the participant through 10 modules of interactive and immersive training.  
“Regardless of your major or the profession you choose, each one of us has a responsibility to protect the data that we are trusted with in our jobs,” said GJ de Vreede, interim dean at the Muma College of Business.

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Photo by Ver'Shanti Lamb/USF Muma College of Business

De Vreede said the college’s partnership with KnowBe4 began nearly five years ago and this certificate program is an example of the continued collaboration between academic research and an industry leader in cybersecurity. 
Stu Sjouwerman, founder and CEO of KnowBe4, said USF business students will be the first university students in the nation to go through the training. Content for the program is a combination of webinars from leading experts, content from their training library, and some of the latest student-centric content. 
“It’s a rigorous curriculum,” he said. “It will really benefit students so they are more hirable.” 
Marcus Green, a visiting assistant professor of instruction who teaches cybersecurity, led the development of the curriculum for USF. 
Green said the training offers students critical skills to fight against cyber threats. 
“Ransomware attacks continue to occur at an incredible pace,” Green said. “Threat actors continue to use this attack vector because social engineering works so well against our weakest link – the human factor. Increasing the cyber resilience of the human factor is where we must improve if we want to stand a chance.”

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Marcus Green speaks about the certificate program.

Two USF students, who tested the certificate program, raved about its engaging content.
Jacob Hammargren, a cybersecurity major, said he learned about the certificate program from Green, who asked him to take the course and offer feedback. 
As a member of USF’s Whitehatters Computer Security Club, Hammargren said he didn’t expect to learn much from the course. In fact, he went in thinking it was going to be "relatively boring", he said. 
“I was completely wrong,” Hammargren said. “The course appeals to both technical people as well as non-technical people, and that’s very hard to do.” 
Hammargren said cybersecurity isn’t only about the technical side, but also the behavioral science and human factor side. And this course bridges that gap well.

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Jacob Hammargren speaks about the Cyber Resiliency Certificate Program.

“As someone who lives and breathes this stuff, seeing the late great Kevin Mitnick show up in one of the course modules and demonstrate how a phishing email can lead to beaconing a command-and-control server was awesome,” he said. 
Hammargren’s friend Brandon Gonzalez, another cybersecurity student, said the course offers a great foundation to understanding the fundamentals of cyber resiliency. 
It teaches participants how to recognize phishing scams, understand ransomware attacks, and gives participants the tools to not get hacked. 
“It’s possible for anyone to be hacked,” Gonzalez said. “Learning the fundamentals helps protect you, the company, and most important, the customers data.”   

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