One of the nation’s largest cybersecurity attacks took place at a Mississippi health center in 2018. At Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, an employee fell victim to a phishing attack in December 2018, which resulted in a breach of the data of 30,000 patients. The patient data that was breached included names, health data, patient dates of birth, and information about services they had received at Memorial Hospital Gulfport. Social Security numbers were also included in some of the breached data. Those who had Social Security numbers breached were offered a free year of credit monitoring and identity protection services.
Unfortunately, data breaches such as this one are all too common around the world today. In 2020, there has been a sharp increase in healthcare data breaches, possibly due to the coronavirus crisis and the focus on that area taking the focus off of protecting health data. Educated, trained cybersecurity professionals are needed more now than ever before all across the United States, including within the state of Mississippi.
If you would like to discover how you can enter into the field of information security, also known as cybersecurity, in Mississippi, getting a bachelor’s degree is a great first step. Keep reading to find out how you can achieve this goal.
Cybersecurity in the News in Mississippi
In June 2020, it was announced that Mississippi State University ranks fourth in the United States educational institutions for supercomputing power. Its Orion supercomputer has recently been ranked by Top500.org as the fourth most powerful academic data center in the country. Orion was installed on campus in the summer of 2019, thanks to $22 million in grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It is capable of processing five thousand trillion calculations per second, and powers research and development in weather and climate modeling, cybersecurity, autonomous systems, materials, and computational modeling, among other things.
Mississippi’s Cybersecurity Laws
Mississippi has recently improved its cybersecurity laws, but the state still needs to do much more. Mississippi’s Chief Information Officer Craig Orgeron said in 2019 that passage of the state’s security council, enterprise security law, and Insurance Data Security Law (also called Mississippi’s Cybersecurity Law) had all placed the state on a forward track in the cybersecurity arena.
According to the state’s auditor, Shad White, however, cybersecurity in Mississippi still needs tightening. In a mandatory cybersecurity survey that was sent out to Mississippi businesses in 2019, it was found that more than half of the businesses that responded did not meet 75 percent of the state’s cybersecurity requirements. By July 2020, under Mississippi’s Cybersecurity Law, all businesses governed by state law must establish a written, comprehensive information security program. It remains to be seen whether businesses in Mississippi will comply with this requirement in a timely manner.
Earning a Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity in Mississippi
With bachelor’s degree in hand, you may be eligible for cybersecurity positions across Mississippi such as:
- Cyber Security Analyst – Leidos, Long Beach
- IT Specialist (Information Security) – US Department of Defense, Pascagoula
- Cybersecurity Threat Assessment – TekSynap, Vicksburg
- Information Systems Security Officer – Perspecta, John C. Stennis Space Center
- Cyber Defense Analyst 2 – Sandoval Technology Solutions, Vicksburg
- Cybersecurity Network Defense Analyst – UICGS and Bowhead Family of Companies, Vicksburg
- Information Security Analyst – TEKsystems, Inc., Columbus
- Cyber Security Analyst – North Mississippi Health Services, Tupelo
- Cyber Security Operations Manager- SAIC, Vicksburg
- Information Security Consultant- FireEye, Inc., Jackson
Mississippi Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree Programs
When you are selecting a bachelor’s degree program in cybersecurity in Mississippi, be sure that the institution housing the program is accredited by an agency listed with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) .
Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE)
The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) showcases the best undergraduate and graduate cybersecurity degree programs in the country through the National Centers of Academic Excellence.
Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education in Mississippi
One institution featuring a bachelor’s degree program in cybersecurity in Mississippi has been designated as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CD):
- Mississippi State University – Bachelor of Science in Computer Science – Professional Certificate in Information Assurance
Computer Science and Engineering Dept.
665 George Perry St.
300 Butler Hall, Box 9637
Mississippi State, MS 39762
CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2021
Dr. Drew Hamilton
(662) 325-2294; firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Mississippi
There is one more cybersecurity bachelor’s degree program in Mississippi:
- University of Mississippi – Bachelor of Science in Computer Science –Emphasis on Computer Security
Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC)
Accredited by the Computer Accrediting Commission of ABET
Department of Engineering
P.O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677
Required Courses in a CAE-CD Program in Mississippi
Undergraduate cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs in Mississippi that have CAE-CD designation mandate that students take courses in areas including the following Knowledge Units (KUs):
- Required Knowledge Units:
- Security Risk Analysis
- Security Program Management
- Policy, Legal, Ethics and Compliance
- Operating Systems Concepts
- Network Defense
- Information Technology Systems Components
- Cybersecurity Principles
- Cybersecurity Planning & Management
- Cybersecurity Foundations
- Cyber Threats
- Basic Scripting & Programming
- Basic Networking
- Basic Cryptography
- Optional Knowledge Units:
- Wireless Sensor Networks
- Web Application Security
- Vulnerability Analysis
- Virtualization Technologies
- Systems Security Engineering
- Systems Programming
- Systems Certification and Accreditation
- Supply Chain Security
- Software Security Analysis
- Software Reverse Engineering
- Software Assurance
- Secure Programming Practices
- Radio Frequency Principles
- Quality Assurance/Functional Testing
- Penetration Testing
- Operating Systems Theory
- Operating Systems Hardening
- Operating Systems Administration
- Network Technology and Protocols
- Network Security Administration
- Network Forensics
- Mobile Technologies
- Media Forensics
- Low Level Programming
- Life Cycle Security
- Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems
- Introduction to Theory of Computation
- Industrial Control Systems
- Independent/Directed Study/Research
- IA Standards
- IA Compliance
- IA Architectures
- Host Forensics
- Hardware/Firmware Security
- Hardware Reverse Engineering
- Fraud Prevention & Management
- Formal Methods
- Forensic Accounting
- Embedded Systems
- Digital Forensics
- Digital Communications
- Device Forensics
- Database Management Systems
- Data Structures
- Data Administration
- Cybersecurity Ethics
- Cyber Crime
- Cloud Computing
- Basic Cyber Operations
- Analog Telecommunications
- Advanced Network Technology & Protocols
- Advanced Cryptography
- Advanced Algorithms
Mississippi Cybersecurity Certifications
After you earn your bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity in Mississippi, consider pursuing one or more professional certifications, that can add to your value as a cybersecurity job candidate. Popular ones in Mississippi include:
- CompTIA PenTest+
- CompTIA Security+
- CompTIA CASP+
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- SSCP Systems Security Certified Practitioner
Employment Outlook for Cybersecurity in Mississippi
According to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, job opportunities for information security analysts (another name for cybersecurity professionals) statewide are projected to increase by 17.7 percent from 2016 to 2026. They are projected to jump even more in the Gulfport/Biloxi/Pascagoula Metropolitan Statistical area, where jobs for cybersecurity professionals are expected to increase by a whopping 33.3 percent during that same time period. A large but more modest increase is expected in the Jackson Metropolitan Statistical area, where jobs for information security professionals are projected to increase by 15.4 percent from 2016 through 2026. Any way you look at it, getting a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity in Mississippi is a great idea! This will set you up for a bright future working in a challenging, interesting and exciting field with vast opportunities!
“A round-up of data breaches in March 2020.” Security Boulevard. 6 April 2020. Accessed 3 July 2020 at https://securityboulevard.com/2020/04/a-round-up-of-data-breaches-in-march-2020/.
Davis, Jessica. “Phishing attack breaches data of 30,000 Memorial Hospital patients.” Health IT Security. 21 February 2019. Accessed 3 July 2020 at https://healthitsecurity.com/news/phishing-attack-breaches-data-of-30000-memorial-hospital-patients.
CAE Institution Map. https://www.caecommunity.org/content/cae-institution-map.
“Mississippi tallying ‘big wins’ in cybersecurity.” StateScoop.com. 2019. Accessed 3 July 2020 at https://statescoop.com/video/mississippi-cybersecurity-legislation-policy/?welcome=true
“MSU ranks fourth in U.S. academia for supercomputing power.” Mississippi State University Newsroom. 29 June 2020. Accessed 3 July 2020 at https://www.msstate.edu/newsroom/article/2020/06/msu-ranks-fourth-us-academia-supercomputing-power.
“National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) Designation Program Guidance.” https://www.iad.gov/NIETP/documents/Requirements/CAE-CD_Program_Guidance_2020.pdf.
“Occupational Employment Projections.” Mississippi Department of Employment Security. https://mdes.ms.gov/information-center/labor-market-information/occupational-projections/.