SUNY Canton to Host Inaugural Virtual Cybersecurity Conference


SUNY Canton’s new Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity will host its first cybersecurity conference dedicated to educating the public about protecting themselves from cybercriminals. It will also serve to provide insight on how adversaries can weaponize technology to spread false information, particularly in an election year.

Events will be held throughout October to coincide with National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Community members, students, government officials and business leaders are invited to join any of the five free lunchtime virtual Zoom panel discussions featuring experts from across the country by registering in advance.

Cybersecurity Month October 2020

“As COVID-19 requires more people to connect virtually, whether it be in education, retail, banking, or other industries, cybersecurity is more important than ever,” said Associate Professor Kambiz Ghazinour, Ph.D., who teaches in the college’s Cybersecurity program. “These upcoming panels will advise attendees about the best ways to protect themselves online and learn about hacking and disinformation that could occur during the election.”

According to the FBI, the number of complaints about cyberattacks has risen 400% since the start of the pandemic, reaching as many as 4,000 reports per day. In addition, a recent joint statement by the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency warns that due to mail-in voting ballot protocols necessitated by COVID-19, “foreign actors and cybercriminals could exploit the time required to certify and announce elections’ results by disseminating disinformation that includes reports of voter suppression, cyberattacks targeting election infrastructure, voter or ballot fraud and other problems intended to convince the public of the elections’ illegitimacy.” 

The conference’s first panel, “Oh No, We’ve Been Hacked,” will discuss cybersecurity needs in the North Country from a business perspective. It will be held at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1. Panelists include SUNY Canton Lecturer Minhua Wang, the college’s authority on cybercrime, SUNY Canton Assistant Professor Kelly Peterson, Ph.D., and Randall Magiera, security operations manager for CloudCheckr, a cloud computing company based in Rochester.

Kambiz Ghazinour walks around the new Cybersecurity lab.

The next panel, “Getting Hacked is Contagious,” at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, will examine cybersecurity in the pandemic and the post-pandemic. Panelists include Allyson Ingalls, an IT specialist for the U.S. Army Signal Network Enterprise Center at Fort Drum; Sebastian Zimmeck, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at Wesleyan University; Rouzbeh Razavi, Ph.D. an assistant professor in the Department of Management and Information Systems at Kent State University; and Richard Ingersoll, the director of systems engineering and architecture at St. Lawrence Health System.

The third panel, “The Hackers are Coming! Winning a Cybersecurity War in an Election Year,” is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15. Speakers include SUNY Canton Lecturer Minhua Wang; Traian Marius Truta, Ph.D., professor and associate chair of the Department of Computer Science at Northern Kentucky University; and Younghun Chae, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Kent State University.

The fourth panel, “Crazy Life with a Connected Device,” will be held at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22 and discuss the risks to privacy and data security as smart device technology evolves. Panelists include Sepideh Ghanavati, Ph.D., an assistant professor who teaches computer science at the University of Maine, and Benjamin Yankson, Ph.D., an assistant professor at SUNY Albany’s College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity. 

The final panel will discuss SUNY Canton’s growing four-year Cybersecurity program. “Training the Good Guys to Think Like Bad Guys” will be held at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29. Panelists will include Alex Wolfe, a teacher at the Bio-Med Science Academy in Ohio, and SUNY Canton Associate Professor Kambiz Ghazinour, Ph.D.

“Our Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity gives students the tools and knowledge to keep pace with and defend against cybercriminals,” said SUNY Canton Professor Elizabeth Brown, Ph.D., who is also the director of the college’s Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity Center. “As one of the eight programs housed within the center, students have the opportunity to learn about many different security fields to increase their career options.”

About SUNY Canton

Discover SUNY Canton, where innovation meets opportunity. The college’s career-focused educational programs emphasize hands-on and applied learning opportunities in digital design, engineering technology, health, information technology, management, public service, and veterinary technology. Faculty members bring real-world experience and exceptional academic expertise to the classroom. As a leader in online education, SUNY Canton offers unmatched flexibility with hundreds of courses and 23 comprehensive degree programs offered completely online. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos compete at the NCAA Division III level and will be transitioning to the SUNYAC in Fall 2024. In addition to its 15 traditional teams, SUNY Canton offers coed varsity esports and cheerleading.